Indianapolis: JJ Yeley race report

Yeley Caught up in the Big One at Indianapolis Interstate Batteries Team Finishes 36th after Being Caught in Eight-Car Melee Looking around the garage area just 60 laps into Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race...

Yeley Caught up in the Big One at Indianapolis
Interstate Batteries Team Finishes 36th after Being Caught in Eight-Car Melee

Looking around the garage area just 60 laps into Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one might have thought the series was racing at a short track or perhaps even Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway -- where large crashes are expected. But it was indeed Indianapolis, where several multi-car accidents made the garage area resemble a junkyard.

J.J. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), was collected in an eight-car accident on Lap 47 when Robby Gordon hit Yeley's car from behind and sent it spinning into the SAFER Barrier on the outside retaining wall in Turn 1. Yeley spent significant time in the garage for repairs, but eventually returned to the track. Still, the accident relegated him to a 36th-place finish.

After being involved in an accident during practice on Saturday that destroyed his primary car, Yeley's raceday started off much brighter with a backup car that appeared stout. He moved up from his 23rd-place starting spot to 16th by the first caution on Lap 16.

Yeley brought the car to pit road for service under that caution, but a missing lug nut necessitated a return trip one lap later, which put him toward the back of the field. Despite the small setback, Yeley worked his way back through the field and into the top-25 before being involved in the Lap 47 accident.

"This is a really long race and this race track is just not that wide," Yeley said. "It doesn't like three and four abreast on entry to the corner. We lost some track position early in the race. Going down into the front straightaway, I could see cars trying to go three and four abreast and you knew it wasn't going to be good. I could see smoke and I was pretty much checked up almost in the third groove in Turn 1. I thought we had the wreck dodged and the No. 7 (Robby Gordon) car ran me over and stuck me into the fence. It's one thing to be caught up in a wreck because you had nowhere to go, but to have time to slow up and still get run over is hard to take. It was a real tough second day in a row here at the Brickyard."

Even though Yeley's machine suffered significant damage on the rear end housing and left front corner, the Interstate Batteries crew went to work and repaired it well enough to return to the race and gain three more spots. Yeley was forced to pull his car behind the wall with three laps left when it began to leak fluid so as to not affect the final few laps of the race.

"The guys worked real hard to get everything changed," said Yeley of his Interstate Batteries team. "It was not an easy job, but the guys worked through it. We didn't exactly start the weekend off right, but it's a tough team and they definitely persevered here and will be ready for Pocono next week."

-credit: jgr

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Series NASCAR-CUP