COVID-19 Scares Back in the NASCAR Grid, Justin Haley Out of Dover Race

Published 05/14/2021, 3:32 PM EDT
Aug 28, 2020; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Justin Haley (11) leads Gray Gaulding (07), Chase Briscoe (98) and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Riley Herbst (18) to win the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up another ugly reminder that it is not going anywhere just yet. As it turns out, Xfinity driver Justin Haley has become the latest victim of the lethal virus. Obviously, this means that he will be unavailable to race this weekend at the Dover International Speedway.

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Now, the latest reports say that Truck Series driver Zane Smith will sub in for him. Admittedly, this could jeopardize Haley’s chances of making the Xfinity Playoffs.

Luckily for him, since this was a circumstance beyond his control, Haley will possibly get a waiver. Meanwhile, Josh Berry received the nod to take Haley’s Cup Series seat in the Spire Motorsports team.

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Smith said, Bummed for Justin & hoping for a quick return but Excited for this opportunity, can’t wait to be back in a Xfinity car at one of my favorite places.

“Last time we were there it went pretty good! Hope to represent Kaulig Racing the best I can and give my miles the monster a friend!

Justin Haley was not the first NASCAR driver to test positive for COVID-19

Last year, a few other drivers tested positive for the virus. Among them were Cup Series drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon, and the then Truck Series part-time driver Natalie Decker. On the bright side, the three of them have since recovered and have resumed racing.

Now, Dillon is still in the Cup Series, but Johnson has moved to the IndyCar scene for this season. Meanwhile, Decker is now a part-time driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has a few races under her belt.

Oct 17, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Justin Haley (11) leads Justin Allgaier (7) and Ben Kennedy (2) and Riley Herbst (18) during the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Coming back to Justin Haley, though, it is highly likely that he may miss a couple more races. This is because he will have to recover, in addition to self quarantining after his recovery.

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For now, the poor old invalid has been reduced to a bench warmer. All he can do now is sit and hopefully ride out this infection.

Once he is fighting fit, Haley will definitely tackle the remaining races with a vengeance. In addition to that, he will also be hoping that he has not lost too much ground to his rivals.

DIVE DEEPER

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Dhruv George

11638 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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