Justin Haley, Rick Ware Racing Disqualified at COTA

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

The best day for Rick Ware Racing to date was erased after Justin Haley’s No. 51 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was disqualified for failing to meet minimum post-race weight requirements at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

Throughout the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, Haley’s Fraternal Order of Eagles Ford was inside the top-20. The Winamac, IN native had an average running position of 14.2 on the 20-turn road course. That improved on Haley’s average of 14.7 one week ago, which was the best average running position for the organization.

Despite the team’s best running position, the finish ultimately doesn’t reflect it. After NASCAR Cup Series officials disqualified Haley from his 17th-place finishing position, he was officially credited with a 39th-place finish. It marks the 50th time in Cup Series history that a car was disqualified from a points-paying race.

“We had an okay day,” Haley said post-race, prior to the disqualification. “I thought we did everything right up until the end when we had a slow pit stop and kind of faded from there. I am really happy with the results we are getting. We have such a small team, and we are trying as hard as we can. I appreciate everyone at Ford and RFK for giving us the information they give us, and I am glad we are starting to apply it.”

Justin haley was disqualified at circuit of the americas.
Screenshot by Seth Eggert/Kickin’ the Tires

NASCAR’s policy of disqualifying cars that failed post-race technical inspection started in 2019. Prior to that, teams often got hefty points penalties, though there were sporadic disqualifications in the early days of the sport.

Haley’s disqualification is the first time that a Cup car was disqualified on a road course since Fireball Roberts in 1955 at the Daytona Beach & Road Course. Roberts had his win stripped away after shortened push rods were discovered in post-race inspection of his car.

Next for Haley and Rick Ware Racing is the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. The 24-year-old has six starts at ‘The Action Track’ with a best finish of 21st in the Summer of 2022.

The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond is scheduled for Sunday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. ET on FOX. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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