The internet is aflame with hot takes about how bad it is for NASCAR that Spire Motorsports and Justin Haley won the last traditional Firecracker 400. People are furious that Haley was handed the win, that a team in Spire who is more of a management company than race team actually won. Some mouth breathers have even suggested a playoff spot be given to the second-place finisher William Byron. But here’s the thing:
IT’S OK HALEY WON
It’s completely ok that Justin Haley won. Part of racing is to get to the finish line first whether that’s on the race track or a chess match against weather, if you’re in first that’s all that matters. How you get to the line or the conclusion of the race first is the whole point of racing. Whether that’s through speed on merit or if it’s through strategy, Justin Haley and the #77 team took a chance and it paid off.
Sure the team hasn’t had a lead lap finish all season. Sure it was only Haley’s third career Cup start and the team doesn’t even have it’s own race shop. And maybe Spire represents a number of drivers and sponsors across NASCAR’s three series. Is there a conflict of interest here? If you put everything up on a wall and connect the strings maybe you can make a case for it.
Ultimately they won on strategy. It’s happened numerous times in the sport and it will happen again. No one was overly outraged by Joey Logano’s first win at Loudon in 2009 or called for the win to be given to Jeff Gordon. Chris Buescher did the same thing at Pocono in 2016 and the general consensus was “good for those guys.” Yet here we are on a Tuesday still talking about how Haley didn’t deserve to win. And a lot of that sentiment has to be the fact that this is a new team, a new driver and a slow car. If Landon Cassill and Starcom pulled this off no one would be complaining.
Unfortunately for Haley and Spire, they haven’t “paid their dues” enough for fans to embrace the randomness of them winning. Listen sometimes weird things happen, in a season that has been dominated by essentially two teams it’s kind of nice to see a random wtf type of winner. Haley didn’t steal a playoff spot from anyone, he isn’t even eligible for Cup points. Spire won’t compete in the playoffs for the owner championship. It’s very much a moot point.
Embrace the chaos people.
Follow us on Twitter @ApexOff