While good things didn't come for several drivers who waited out two separate rain delays in Sunday's LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, J.J. Yeley's patience paid off with a 14th-place finish. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 ...
While good things didn't come for several drivers who waited out two separate rain delays in Sunday's LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, J.J. Yeley's patience paid off with a 14th-place finish.
Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), notched his third top-15 in the last four races.
The race, which was originally scheduled for 267 laps, was past the original halfway point when the red flag came out a second time, but after a 2 hour and 13 minute delay, the race was restarted with the new distance set at 225 laps. Later in the event, officials would shorten the distance even further, to 210 laps, due to darkness.
Yeley looked as though he would score a 10th-place finish during the second stoppage on lap 148.
"I was doing the rain dance and hoping they wouldn't restart it," said Yeley of the second rain storm of the day. "We got away with a top-15 instead of a top-10, which like we would have preferred. I just got pinned up too much in traffic there toward the end. My car was really good on the bottom there at the end, and I was afraid to leave there. I knew we had a good car and I felt like we had more to lose if I tried to go to the outside and pass where I hadn't been very good all day. I decided to work the bottom and try to get underneath the guys in front of me. It just took me too long to get through some slow cars at the end."
After working his way up from his 31st starting position to 18th place by lap 29, Yeley hung in the top-20 for most of the day. Just before the rain hit on lap 147, several leaders couldn't make it any longer and were forced to dive to pit road for fuel. Since Yeley had last pitted on lap 100, he had plenty of fuel to make it to the red flag.
When the race resumed under green on lap 155, Yeley hung near the top-10 and avoided three separate accidents over a 28-lap period. On Lap 177, Yeley came to pit road to the attention of crew chief Steve Addington, where he elected to put on four fresh Goodyear tires. Several teams elected to take two tires on the last stop, so Yeley restarted the race in 17th place on lap 187. He then moved up three spots in the final 27 laps to seal his 14th-place finish.
"We came in on the last stop and took four tires, which was definitely the right call," said Yeley. "Steve (Addington) freed me up and we probably should have freed me up even more. We didn't expect the race to go so late in the night. The track gained so much more grip than what we had before we had to make our last pit stop. If we would have gone green the whole time, we might have picked off two or three more. But with the end as wild and as dark as it was, I'm just happy to bring it home without a scratch on it."
Yeley's JGR teammates --Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart -- finished 29th and 39th, respectively, in the LifeLock 400. Stewart dropped two spots to the fourth position in the standings and sits 117 points behind series point leader Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin maintained his 12th-place position in the point standings, 248 points arrears Johnson. Yeley moved up one spot to 19th place in the standings.
Greg Biffle won the LifeLock 400 to score his 12th career Nextel Cup victory, his first this season and his first at Kansas. Kansas native Clint Bowyer finished second, while Johnson, Casey Mears and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Reed Sorenson, Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 12 caution periods for 54 laps, with four drivers failing to finish the 210-lap race. The two red flags combined for 2 hours, 58 minutes and 24 seconds.
The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule -- the fourth race of the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup -- is the Oct. 7 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT with live, high-definition coverage provided by ABC beginning with its pre-race show at 1 p.m.