Dover: JJ Yeley race report

Dover Downer Broken Shock Mount Drops Yeley to 37th Place Finish at Dover J.J. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, finished 37th in Monday's rain-postponed Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Dover...

Dover Downer
Broken Shock Mount Drops Yeley to 37th Place Finish at Dover

J.J. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, finished 37th in Monday's rain-postponed Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway after a right front shock mount broke early in the event.

Yeley started the 400-lap race in 32nd and quickly began to climb his way into the top-20. The Interstate Batteries machine was running well and Yeley's only complaint was that his car was snug in the center of the track's 24-degree banking. On each pit stop, the crew made air pressure adjustments to free the car up.

By lap 125, Yeley was in 16th and charging toward the front. It appeared that the No. 18 Interstate Batteries team was going to follow up its second-place run at Charlotte (N.C.) last week with another strong finish at Dover.

But just as the race was postponed from Sunday to Monday when the bottom fell out and heavy rains drenched the area, the bottom fell out of the No. 18 team's potential top-10 effort.

During a caution on lap 135, Yeley delivered bad news to his crew.

"The right front shock is falling off or broken," said Yeley over the radio. "The car was good before that, but now it goes into the corner, slams down and bounces up and down on the straightaways. I have zero control."

Crew chief Steve Addington responded, "Your lap times are good. We'll look at the tires when you pit and if we have to, we'll bring you back in."

During the caution laps, Yeley brought his car to the attention of his crew. The Interstate Batteries over-the-wall team changed four tires and filled the car full of fuel before sending Yeley back out, but rear tire changer Kyle Power confirmed what everyone feared most. The shock mount was indeed broken, and while repairable, it meant a prolonged trip to the garage.

As the team worked feverishly to weld the broken shock mount, the laps kept ticking away. Yeley finally rejoined the race on lap 168, but he was 28 laps down to the leader. All Yeley could do was ride around, stay out of trouble and collect as many points as possible. When the checkered flag waved, the No. 18 Interstate Batteries team was 30 laps down in 37th -- a good day gone sour.

"We were running real well there," said Yeley after the race. "All of the sudden we gave up a couple of tenths. Steve (Addington) asked me what I thought was wrong with the car and it felt like the right front shock fell off. I guess from the loads we were seeing using the bump rubbers, it broke the bracket off the frame and we didn't have a right front shock.

"It's just disappointing coming off the excellent run we had last week. We had an excellent race car today. It started out just a little bit tight. After the first adjustment, the car drove really well. I just kept picking them off and picking them off. I think we were up to 16th there and it all went bad. You have days like that, I guess."

"I can't believe our luck," said a visibly disappointed Addington. "The right front upper shock mount broke out of the tubing. It just ended our day. It wasn't anybody's fault. We had a really good race car. All of these guys deserve a lot better than that. We had a top-five finish today. We'll just keep our heads up and try again next week."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers J.J. Yeley