By: Mitchell Breuer
After all the success that Kaulig Racing has had over the last year, the team added another milestone, seeing its first full-time car finally win. Justin Haley, the driver of the No. 11 Chevrolet, was victorious in what was an interesting race at Talladega Superspeedway.
The day started off with the competitors of the NASCAR Xfinity Series battling hard before the race’s competition on Lap 10. This intensity continued throughout the first two stages; however, the race itself remained clean, with no natural cautions.
Then, the race seemed to quiet down at the beginning of stage three, with the four JR Motorsports cars getting to the front and leading a long line up top. Everybody was content, remaining calm as green flag pit stops were approaching. Before we could get to pit stops though, a chaotic sequence of events occurred.
Tim Viens, who was making his first start for Mike Harmon Racing, slowed on the apron appearing to have a flat tire, though it didn’t seem like he was going to cause a caution. Then, as the lead pack was approaching, Viens swerved and nearly caused a big crash at the front.Thankfully for those upfront, a wreck was avoided there, but moments later Brett Moffitt made contact with Riley Herbst, sending him spinning into traffic and causing damage to his and Chase Briscoe’s car.
The race resumed, and again single file racing picked back up followed by another wreck occurred, this time involving Harrison Burton. This brought out a red flag, followed by the big one and another red flag. You expect big crashes at superspeedways, but it’s usually when the field is driving aggressively, not the opposite like this race.
Another thing you expect with superspeedway racing? Exciting finishes, which this race did have, as the Kaulig cars were able to find each other at the right time to get Haley out front to score the win.
One driver who did not have a great day was Ryan Sieg, who since Darlington has not placed better than 16th.This did not change at Talladega, as his day end quickly with a pair of flat tires, and a trip to the garage. The No. 39 did return to the race but, finished the day in 30th. After starting the season with four top-10’s in five races, Sieg has now dropped to tenth in points.
Last time we saw Jeb Burton in the Xfinity Series, he had a dominant day end in being letdown at Daytona International Speedway. While his third-place finish Saturday has to feel better than the 23rd in February, there is still going to be a sense of disappointment. The second-generation racer again looked strong in the No. 8, and even had the lead on the final restart with three to go, but the trip to victory lane will have to wait.