Justin Haley Kicks Off 2018 NASCAR Truck Series Playoffs With Win in Canada

Trouble between Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates handed the lead of the Chevrolet Silverado 250 to Justin Haley.

byAmanda Vincent|
Justin Haley Kicks Off 2018 NASCAR Truck Series Playoffs With Win in Canada

Justin Haley took the lead in the final yards of the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, on Sunday to claim the win in the first 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff race.

“That was amazing. I knew going in there, [Noah] Gragson was probably going to do something not the smartest. That was going to line us up pretty good,” Haley said. “I saw it coming and I knew we were in the catbird’s seat.”

Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson were on the front row, with Gilliland as the race leader for an overtime restart, but on the final lap, Gragson made contact with Gilliland that sent both drivers into a spin in Turn 10. Gragson remained in the top-10 to finish ninth, while Gilliland wound up 11th after leading 11 laps.

KBM teammates up front late

, Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson restart on the front row with two laps remaining in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Aug. 26, 2018., Getty Images for NASCAR

“I’d go fight him right now, but I can’t,” Gilliland said of his teammate. “I just need to get my emotions in check and go talk to him, but I’m extremely mad.”

Gragson led 35 laps of the race that was scheduled for 64 laps but was extended by one because of a fifth caution with three laps remaining in the scheduled distance. He and Gilliland were the only two drivers to post double digits in the laps-led column. Gragson also won both 20-lap stages in the first 40 laps of the race.

Ben Rhodes started on the pole and led the first six laps before Gragson passed him for the lead on Lap 7. Gragson then lost the lead through pit strategy between the first two stages when he pitted and other drivers, including Timothy Peters, stayed out. Gragson restarted fifth, but in a few laps, he was back up front.

After the conclusion of the second stage, Gragson lost the lead again by pitting. Johnny Sauter stayed out after stopping during a previous caution at the halfway point of the race and took the lead.

Gilliland got up to second in the running order on a restart inside the final 15 laps and soon took the lead from Sauter. By the final caution, Gragson was up to second.

After leading the opening laps, Rhodes spun two to go and finished 14th, making him the only playoff driver to finish outside the top-10.

CHEVROLET SILVERADO 250 RESULTS (* = playoff driver)

1. *Justin Haley, No. 24 Chevrolet

2. John Hunter Nemechek, No. 8 Chevrolet

3. *Brett Moffitt, No. 16 Toyota

4. Timothy Peters, No. 25 Chevrolet

5. *Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ford

6. *Johnny Sauter, No. 21 Chevrolet

7. *Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Chevrolet

8. Austin Hill, No. 02 Chevrolet

9. *Noah Gragson, No. 18 Toyota

10. Alex Tagliani, No. 12 Chevrolet

11. Todd Gilliland, No. 4 Toyota

12. D.J. Kennington, No. 49 Chevrolet

13. Harrison Burton, No. 51 Toyota

14. *Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Ford

15. Cody Coughlin, No. 2 Chevrolet

16. Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Chevrolet

17. Grant Enfinger, No. 98 Ford

18. Justin Fontaine, No. 45 Chevrolet

19. Myatt Snider, No. 13 Ford

20. Norm Benning, No. 6 Chevrolet

21. Austin Wayne Self, No. 22 Chevrolet

22. Bo LeMastus, No. 54 Toyota

23. Jason White, No. 33 Chevrolet

24. Wendell Chavous, No. 15 Chevrolet

25. Jesse Iwuji, No. 34 Chevrolet

26. Justin Kunz, No. 0 Chevrolet

27. Roger Reuse, No. 97 Chevrolet

28. Ray Ciccarelli, No. 50 Chevrolet

29. Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Chevrolet

30. Max Tullman, No. 20 Chevrolet

31. Mike Harmon, No. 74 Chevrolet

32. Joe Nemechek, No. 87 Chevrolet

UP NEXT: After two off weekends, the Camping World Truck Series playoffs resume Sept. 14 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch won the most recent Truck Series race at LVMS in March, but he won’t be in the Truck Series race there this time around, as Cup Series drivers aren’t allowed to compete in Truck Series playoff races. Playoff driver Ben Rhodes is the defending winner of the fall race at the track.