Fontana: JJ Yeley race report

Rain, Ill-Handling Car Makes Long Weekend for Yeley & DLP Team J.J. Yeley fought the weather and an ill-handling race car en route to a disappointing 29th-place finish in the rain-delayed Auto Club 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Feb. 24-25...

Rain, Ill-Handling Car Makes Long Weekend for Yeley & DLP Team

J.J. Yeley fought the weather and an ill-handling race car en route to a disappointing 29th-place finish in the rain-delayed Auto Club 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Feb. 24-25 at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California in Fontana.

Yeley, who started 25th in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, could never get the car quite to his liking and finished two laps down in the 250-lap race.

"It was a tough weekend," Yeley said. "A lot of the practice time was rained out, as was qualifying. We only ran seven laps of practice on Saturday, and it would have been nice to have that practice time to work on the car.

"We just could never get the car to handle the way we needed it to. I appreciate the efforts of all the guys on the DLP team this weekend, especially with all the rain. Obviously, we need to get back and work on some things to get better for Las Vegas and Atlanta."

The race, originally scheduled for 1 p.m. PST on Sunday, did not begin until nearly two-and-a-half hours later due to wet weather, and wetness from the sky wasn't the only problem.

The heavy rains that had uncharacteristically doused the Southern California track raised the water table considerably, and no matter how hard safety crews attempted to dry the track, water would bubble up and seep through cracks and seams in the track's surface. "Weeping," as drivers referred to it, was especially pronounced in the track's corners, and NASCAR needed to halt the race for a little over an hour after a multi-car crash on lap 21 was triggered when Casey Mears lost control of his car after it broke traction on one of the wet spots in the track's corners.

Racing resumed on lap 26, but stuttered to a stop when light rain returned from lap 41 to lap 47, and again on lap 87 when heavy rain forced NASCAR to red flag the race a second time. Try as they might, safety crews could not dry the track once the rain had abated, as water continued to seep onto the racing surface. Finally, NASCAR made the call to restart the race at 10 a.m. PST on Monday.

In the Sunday night portion of the race, the DLP crew thought they might have an issue with the carburetor on the No. 96 car, and when the race restarted on Monday, the crew changed the carburetor just before the green flag. While any issue with the carburetor seemed to be settled, the car's ill-handling characteristics dashed any chance of a good finish for Yeley and the DLP team.

Yeley's 29th-place result puts him 28th in the championship point standings. After two races, Yeley has 164 points and is 171 markers behind series leader Kyle Busch.

-credit: hofr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears , J.J. Yeley , Kyle Busch