Haley finishes third in NASCAR Camping World Truck season
Justin Haley headed into the final race of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck season at Homestead-Miami Speedway with an impressive first full-season record and a dream. The Winamac native, driving the No. 24 GMS Racing Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, persevered through the year to lock into the Championship Four finale and hoped to cap the year with a championship trophy.
Quiet, determined and humble best described the attitude of the 19-year-old driver throughout the weekend as he went to work. During practice the team would make adjustments and then rip a mock qualifying run to put Haley at the top of the speed chart in final practice. The track would change throughout the sunny south Florida day and No. 24 would qualify fourth for the start of the 134-lap Ford EcoBoost 200.
Haley started the race strong, but after a handful of laps the abrasive pavement would attack the setup of his truck and after the first stage he would come into the pits in sixth position. Four new tires, fuel and adjustments were made to try to adapt to the changing track conditions. Haley again fired off strong, clawing into the top five, only to lose ground as the tires went away. At the end of the second stage, he would cross the stripe in eighth.
The crew took a second swing at adjustments and at the final green flag, Haley was able to wheel into the top five again, only to have the handling go away again as the tires wore. The race would go green the entire contest other than the scheduled stage breaks.
Taking the checkered flag from the eighth position, Haley would finish his first full season third in the standings. Only two races in the 2018 season were not completed by the teen - Las Vegas when involved in a crash and Phoenix after an oil leak. His average start was 9.7 and his average finish was 8.9, which included three wins, nine top-five and 18 top-ten finishes in 23 starts.