One of the coolest things about sports is that anytime you step onto the playing field, anything can happen. No matter what sport you are a fan of, you have probably seen some unbelievable moments where an

underdog pulls off an unthinkable upset or the game ends under truly wild circumstances.

In basketball, you might remember the 1995 NBA playoffs where Reggie Miller scored eight points in nine seconds to steal game one away from the New York Knicks. More recently, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County became the first No. 16 seed to win a game in the NCAA tournament when they defeated University of Virginia in 2018.

And in football, there are a countless number of implausible outcomes that have happened over the years. Of course, how could anyone here in South Florida forget about the Dolphins’ Miracle in Miami we witnessed just last season. To this day, I still can’t believe that Kenyan Drake carried the ball into the end zone as time expired after all of those lateral passes. The fact that it happened in a game against our rival, the New England Patriots, made it that much better.

I thought back to these endings, among many others, while I was at Daytona International Speedway this past week for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Justin Haley, a 20 year old making his third career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) start, drove to Victory Lane in perhaps the biggest surprise

victory in NASCAR history.

While it’s not unusual to see an unlikely winner at NASCAR’s superspeedways, this particular race really stands out. Over the years, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway have become known for their unpredictability and the fact that the playing field becomes much more level when NASCAR visits these two tracks.

This has manifested itself at these tracks in recent years as they have produced a number of first-time winners and allowed underdogs to find their way to Victory Lane. These winners include David Ragan and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., each of whom have only two career victories – one at Talladega and one at Daytona.

But most notably, people point to 2011 DAYTONA 500 winner Trevor Bayne as the poster boy for NASCAR upsets. Bayne won the DAYTONA 500 in just his second career MENCS start, and like Haley, was only 20 years old at the time of his victory.

When looking at all of the aforementioned races, however, Haley’s victory on Sunday afternoon stands out as the most surprising outcome of them all. For starters, Haley drives for Spire Motorsports, who are in their first season

operating a car in the Cup series.

Spire has seen five different drivers make at least one start in their No. 77 car this season, with their highest finish to date being a 28th place finish by Quin Houff in Charlotte earlier this season. In fact, prior to Daytona, Spire Motorsports had only recorded two finished inside the top-30 this year, both coming at the hands of Quin Houff.

On top of being an inexperienced team, Haley is also an extremely young driver. As I mentioned before, Sunday was only his third 

career MENCS start and 72nd career start among all three of NASCAR’s national series. Even after the race, Justin himself talked about his focus this season being on the Xfinity Series and how he wasn’t expecting to win a Cup race this year.

But beyond the new team and young driver, Sunday’s surprise winner was made possible by the severe weather at the track, a circumstance that was expected to come into play after the weather refused to cooperate all weekend long. Haley was able to survive the “Big One” and then after staying on the track while other drivers made pit stops, he found himself in first place when NASCAR halted the race due to lightning.

When NASCAR ended the race early, Haley rejoiced and took home the trophy. It was one of the most unique and unlikely endings that I had ever seen in not only auto racing, but in any sport. Outcomes like Sunday are what makes sports special and it was certainly a neat experience to be a part of. The fact that anytime you show up to a game or a race, truly anything could happen is part of what makes attending live sports such an enjoyable and memorable experience.

For anyone who was at Daytona last week, they’ll never forget who won the race and how it ended. Just like I’ll never forget some of the incredible moments here at Homestead-Miami Speedway like Kyle Busch coming back from a broken leg to win a championship or Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards ending the season in a tie, with Stewart winning a title based on NASCAR tiebreakers.

So as we get closer and closer to Ford Championship Weekend, think back on all the moments you’ve gotten to witness in the sports history. After all, you never know what you might see when you come to the track for a race.

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NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, July 13

at 7:30 PM (ET)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Friday, July 12

at 7:30 PM (ET)

NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series raced Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

July 12

Fast Lane Friday

July 13

Florida Track Days

July 14

Chin Motorsports

July 19

Fast Lane Friday

July 20

Miami Exotic Auto Racing

2019 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 15

Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 16

Ford EcoBoost 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Monster Energy Series Championship Race

2020 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Mar. 20

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race

Mar. 21

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race

Mar. 22

NASCAR Cup Series Race

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