Upcoming Events on

RATV white
Full Schedule

Justin Haley Charges Through All-Star Open Field for Fourth-Place Finish

They won't make the big show, but Justin Haley and Rick Ware Racing will still have a solid fourth-place run in the All-Star Open to show for their weekend at North Wilkesboro.


hero image for Justin Haley Charges Through All-Star Open Field for Fourth-Place Finish

Had the precipitation held off for five minutes during All-Star Open qualifying on Friday, we may be talking about Justin Haley making the first NASCAR All-Star Race appearance for Rick Ware Racing.

Unfortunately for the native of Winimac, Indiana, Mother Nature had her objections, forcing NASCAR to axe the qualifying session when three drivers were unable to make equitable laps.

At the time, it looked as though Haley was guaranteed to start inside the top five in the two-segment All-Star Open, but instead, the No. 51 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was dropkicked to a starting spot of 16th.

That 12-place difference in starting position is more than likely what made the difference between Haley and Rick Ware Racing advancing to the NASCAR All-Star Race, ultimately finishing in fourth place, two spots short of the transfer position.

"We had a good car," Haley said after the Open. "I wish we could have started a little further up, but all around it was a good day for us. We’ll keep riding this momentum. We’ve brought fast race cars every week, so we’ll just keep going with it.”

The 25-year-old racer didn't initially make his presence known in the All-Star Open, though, hovering around 14th in the opening 50-lap stint, while running the 'prime' yellow-lettered Goodyear tire.

After making the mandatory four-tire pit stop, and placing the 'option' red-letter Goodyear tires, things started to click for Haley, and once the green flag dropped, the Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang started flying towards the front of the pack -- using the inside lane of the racetrack better than anybody else to quickly make time.

Once appearing inside the top five, Haley spent multiple laps battling for third with Josh Berry, when it appeared the advantage of the softer tires began to fade quickly, leaving him unable to continue the progress he had made in the first 25 laps of the race's final run.

"It was fun," Haley added. "The reds definitely had a little bit more grip, but you could wear them out a little bit more. Overall, it was fun."

The fourth-place run for Haley in Sunday's All-Star Open is the best-ever for Rick Ware Racing, improving upon a mark of sixth-place set by JJ Yeley at North Wilkesboro Speedway last year.

While it doesn't pay points, the performance by the No. 51 at North Wilkesboro Speedway is a sign of the times, as Rick Ware Racing continues to make another massive stride towards becoming a consistent competitor for top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Photo Credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America