Justin Haley has to wait for the championship celebration before flying home

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 07: Justin Haley, driver of the #11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway on November 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Kaulig Racing driver Justin Haley gave a creditable performance in Saturday’s Championship 4 race, but his No. 11 Chevrolet was trapped a lap down by an inopportune caution on Lap 170.

Though Haley got his lap back, he couldn’t improve his position significantly in the late going and finished eighth, taking the third position in the final standings.

To make matters worse, Haley had to stay at the track for series champion and race winner Austin Cindric’s post-race celebration.

“I just want to congratulate the 22 team,” Haley said, then quipped, “It actually sucks they got the championship, because we share a plane. So we’re going to have to wait on them to go home.”

Haley fell back at the start of the race, but his crew improved the car after that. It simply wasn’t enough.

“We were not too good there at the start, and then we actually took a little time on one of the pit stops,” said Haley, who restarted eighth for the two-lap overtime. “We started running in the top five, but it’s super hard to pass.”

“We were too far back to make anything happen at the green-white-checkered.”