SPARTA, KY – Justin Haley doesn’t plan to use his surprise win in last Sunday’s rain shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400 for more Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opportunities. See, despite that win for Spire Motorsports, Haley doesn’t want to just drive a Cup car for the sake of driving a Cup car. The Indiana natives goal is to still win the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, as he feels that doing both could hinder those efforts.
“I’m so focused on the XFINITY stuff and I really don’t like jumping out and doing a lot of extra races,” he said on Thursday from the Kentucky Speedway. “I just like to focus where my job is at.”
When asked if extra track time would benefit him, Haley kept it real by saying that the only place that they’d be strong is at the superspeedway’s and that there’s only one race on them left in 2019.
I mean, he has to be realistic. Spire’s average finish heading into Daytona was 28th. They had never finished on the lead lap before last Sunday. Plus, Haley was running 27th before the “Big One” on Lap 119.
“In my deal, I think the only place I can be super competitive (with Spire Motorsports) are the super speedways because of the 10-inch spoiler,” he said. “I think we saw at Talladega I was very competitive and I wrecked the race car that was our backup car that we took to Daytona. It was just as fast. I could have went up there and raced. I could have competed in the top 10 all day, but they were three wide and I didn’t want to put myself in that position because I already wrecked one of their car cars.
“It was so hard to keep in the back because I definitely could have went up there and raced. Everyone was like a back marker won. I was a personal and team decision to run in the back because we knew there would be a big one. I think taking that car to a mile and a-half probably wouldn’t be helpful for me.”
Haley, also was honest in his assessment between his XFINITY Series ride with Kaulig Racing as well as his Cup opportunities. Unfortunately, his statement is a sad reality of where the difference is between them.
Justin Haley poses with the race winning trophy of last Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400
“Those cars are so much easier to drive than Xfinity cars with the downforce and everything, you’re pretty much wide open. The Xfinity cars are the hardest cars to drive right now.”
How is a car that is in a feeder series to NASCAR’s premiere division harder to drive? It should be the other way around. But, with this new package in the Cup Series, it’s exactly what has happened. Should it be that way though?
NASCAR is happy with where the racing is now in the Cup Series though. They point to a lot of metrics being up and said that if this is where fans want it, it’s where they’ll keep it – even if that means high downforce, low horsepower and full throttle for most of the way around these race tracks.
So, as we move forward, the feeder series may have more difficult cars to drive than the ones at the top level.