Yeley Survives Tires Issues to Finish 28th at Indianapolis It was simply survival. There's no other way to put it. J.J. Yeley survived a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that never got going due to tire issues to finish 28th in Sunday's Allstate...
Yeley Survives Tires Issues to Finish 28th at Indianapolis
It was simply survival. There's no other way to put it.
J.J. Yeley survived a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that never got going due to tire issues to finish 28th in Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Yeley and the 42 other drivers battled conditions throughout the day in which the tires on their cars would begin showing the cords after just a few laps of green-flag racing. The result produced a race that saw a record 11 cautions for 52 laps, with six of the yellows being scheduled by NASCAR as a "competition caution" to ensure safety and make sure the teams pitted for fresh tires to avoid accidents and tire blowouts.
The less-than-ideal situation meant that the caution flag flew just about every 10-12 laps throughout the entire 160-lap event.
"Normally Goodyear does a really good job for us, but for some reason with this car, this tire and this track, the track just didn't rubber in for some reason," said Steve Boyer, crew chief of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry. "It was strange and it was a pretty big surprise to me because I really expected it to rubber in at some point. It was just surviving and making sure the right-side tires held up."
With little options, teams tinkered with two-tire stops to gain track position as the left-side tires generally held up pretty well, unlike the right-side tires. Nearly every team attempted a two-tire stop at some point of the race. For some it worked, and for others it didn't.
Unfortunately for Yeley, Boyer and the DLP team, it didn't work. After running in the top-20 for much of the event, Yeley pitted on lap 127, took two tires and came out eighth. However, he quickly fell back in the pack as the older left-side tires didn't produce the grip that was expected.
"We tried to do a two-tire stop with about three runs to go and we just didn't have the car to hold on," Yeley said. "It was good for about two laps, but the left side grip just went away and it just started sliding around. It's just disappointing. We had a top-20 car and we just didn't finish that well. I'm fairly dejected with the finish."
While drivers would race for 8-10 laps most knew right away when the tires began to fall off.
"It was easy to tell," Yeley said. "You would just slowly begin to loose grip on the exit of the corner. It felt like the tire was losing air pressure and was soft and the car would just kind of roll over the tire. Once you got to that point, you just really had to baby it to make sure the tire didn't come apart."
The 28th-place finish caused Yeley to drop one spot to 37th in the championship driver standings, with a post-Indy total of 1,217 points. The No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing entry is 38th in the series' owner standings with 1,335 points, 161 markers behind the 35th-place No. 66 car of Haas/CNC Racing.