Justin Haley, a 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contender, will be sidelined this weekend at Dover International Speedway due to COVID-19 protocols. In place of Haley will be NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitor Zane Smith.
Kaulig Racing released a statement on Friday morning explaining that Haley would not race this weekend.
“In accordance with NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols, Justin Haley will not compete in this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway. Kaulig Racing continues to fill adhere to NASCAR’s safety protocols, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, to ensure the safety of its employees and fellow competitors. Zane Smith will drive the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet on Saturday.”
Haley, 22, who has three career-NASCAR Xfinity Series wins, sits sixth in the championship points heading into this weekend.
For Smith, this will be his 11th-career NASCAR Xfinity Series start, and his first start in the series since a 10-start campaign with JR Motorsports in 2019.
Smith, 21, has two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in his previous 10 starts in the series. His best NXS finish is fifth, which he achieved at both Iowa and Phoenix.
In addition to his full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series role, Haley has been running a part-time NASCAR Cup Series schedule with Spire Motorsports in the No. 77 car. Haley was on the entry list to run the No. 77 machine this weekend at Dover as well, but obviously will not be able to do so, now.
A fill-in driver has not been announced by Spire Motorsports just yet, but an announcement will be coming soon.