Justin Haley, making his second start at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), earned the pole in the Zeality Chevrolet Silverado for Friday’s JAG Metals 350, becoming the youngest TMS pole winner and setting a new track record. As the green flag waved, Haley pulled out to a steady lead but the first caution of the day occurred early on lap five. A battle for position ensued on the restart but the 18-year-old once again pulled away from second place, maintaining the top spot until lap 25, just as the second yellow flag waved.
Under caution, Haley reported his Zeality Chevy was progressively getting tighter and pitted for right side tires and fuel with just eight laps remaining in the first stage. Reporting a vibration as the first stage ended, Haley returned to pit road with the leaders for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, returning to the track just outside the top 10.
Running in the 12th position halfway through the second stage, contact with the No. 21 truck sent Haley spinning, however he avoided contact with the wall and made a trip to his team for four fresh tires under the caution. He made quick work of regaining position on track to finish the Stage Two 12th. Because he had just pitted, Haley stayed on track under the stage break to line up fourth for the final 77-lap stage.
Haley jumped to second on the restart and maintained his position until lap 100 when he reported he was starting to get loose on entry. Under green, Haley pitted for right side tires and fuel and returned to the track to sit in the sixth position once green-flag stops were completed. As the final leg of the race came to a close, Haley gained an additional spot to finish fifth, earning his third top-five of the year.
“It’s really encouraging to see how far this team has come in just the last few races. We’re showing a lot of speed late in the season and that just proves how hard these guys work day in and day out. This was such an up and down race, but we overcame the adversity, learned a lot and got a top-five finish out of it. We’ll take this momentum into Phoenix and Miami, and finish the year out strong.”
- Haley’s 5th-place finish is his third top-five and 11th top-10 of the 2017 season.
- Earning the pole in his second start at Texas, Haley set a new track record to become the youngest Texas Motor Speedway pole winner.
GMS Racing PR