Justin Haley, son of Jet Linx Indianapolis Pilot John Haley, took the first steps in his racing career in 2008, competing in Quarter Midgets at the age of nine years old.
“My family has always been very involved in the racing scene,” Justin Haley stated. “When I was younger, I would go to races and watch. As I grew, my interest in the sport grew.”
Day dreams of race cars were a staple of Justin Haley’s school-age years. “As a child, I used to go to school every day, draw pictures of race cars and dreamed of the opportunity to have a chance at NASCAR,” Justin Haley fondly recalled. “I always hoped my hard work and passion would drive me to succeed.”
John Haley agreed adding, “I think it was natural for him to want to start racing.”
Those first, formative races took place on the Quarter Midgets circuit when Justin was nine. “At the time, my cousin was competing locally in a Quarter Midget car around a small 1/16th sized track (basically a go-kart) so I went to my mother and asked if I could race one after seeing my cousin compete. It took off from there.” His career quickly moved to dirt tracks throughout the Midwest, competing in Mini-Sprints. “By 12 years old, I had moved to a full-sized stock car and have been racing the oval tracks ever since,” Justin Haley noted.
In 2015, Haley earned Rookie of the Year honors, competing full-time with HScott Motorsports in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The next year, he recorded his first career series win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, paving the way for his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship. He finished in the top ten in all 14 races – the only driver to do so in series history.
Due to his remarkable racing, Justin Haley landed monetary backing from the Fraternal Order of Eagles – his primary sponsor for the last three years on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “One of the largest challenges race car drivers face is lack of finances. I’m so thankful to have the backing of the Fraternal Order of Eagles – they have taken me with them to the top.”
I USED TO GO TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY, DRAW PICTURES OF RACE CARS AND DREAMED OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A CHANCE AT NASCAR.Justin Haley
After an incredible two years with Braun Motorsports racing the No. 32, a Chevrolet Silverado, it was announced he would be racing a No. 24 Silverado for GMS Racing beginning in 2017 (starting with the third race of the year due to NASCAR’s age restriction). Haley would go on to earn three top-five and 12 top-ten finishes, with a best place of third in Kentucky. Just 17 years old when the season began, and missing two races due to his age, Haley still finished 12th in the points.
With momentum in his favor, earlier this year Haley scored an impressive second-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. “That was fun racing right there; it was badass and probably the most fun I’ve ever had racing a truck,” Haley was quoted saying after the race. “I don’t know what it looked like from the outside, but it was pretty intense for us. We were three-wide, which trucks don’t do a lot. I’m really proud of what we’ve done as a team and I think this is just the beginning for us.”
Race car drivers might seem like daredevils, but the best are obsessively focused on preparation. The car must be perfect. The driver must be in shape and focused to endure the challenges of a race. Haley’s training regime reflects his commitment to being the best. “I train up to four times a day, getting in a lot of endurance training as well as high intensity training,” he said.
Inside the cars, temperatures routinely exceed 120 degrees – conditions that demand excellent cardiovascular health. “At least one of my workouts each day will be inside a heated room for up to a few hours,” Haley divulged. “In addition, I incorporate a lot of triathlon training and my diet and hydration are always carefully maintained. I hold myself to a very high standard – to be the best you must train the best.”
“Justin has always strived to do his best in any competitive arena he has performed,” John Haley remarked. “He tends to focus and try to find any way he can to gain an edge over the competition from preparation to racing.”
When asked what accomplishment has stuck with him, proud father John Haley responded, “He has track records all over the country in different series, but the neatest one was when he was 13 and set a track record at Plymouth (IN) Speedway. Winning the NASCAR K&N East championship in his second year and setting a record for best average finish really showed what he was capable of.”
Justin Haley concluded, “Through my ten years of racing, I have experienced many tracks around the country. So far, the journey has been humbling.”