Loudon: JJ Yeley race report

Yeley Encounters Tough Time on Restarts at New Hampshire Despite 22nd-Place Finish, Yeley Gains Two Spots in Points As excited as J.J. Yeley might have been for a few opportune caution flags that kept him on the lead lap in Sunday's Lenox ...

Yeley Encounters Tough Time on Restarts at New Hampshire
Despite 22nd-Place Finish, Yeley Gains Two Spots in Points

As excited as J.J. Yeley might have been for a few opportune caution flags that kept him on the lead lap in Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, he dreaded the ensuing restarts.

The driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet endured a loose race car during the first segment of a green flag run, dropping him several positions before the handling would come around to his liking. The tough time on restarts -- and there were six in all -- made for a long day, as exhibited by Yeley's 22nd-place finish.

Despite the disappointing result, Yeley still gained two spots in the championship point standings, as he is now 16th, 48 points behind 15th-place Kurt Busch.

"We just couldn't get the car right on the start of most runs and on the end of a few long runs," said Yeley. "We had a couple of runs where we were decent, but overall we were too free on forward bite. The first five to eight laps of a run I would give up five or six spots. It's just so hard to pass that I didn't have enough to get them back. It was a tough day."

While crew chief Steve Addington tried several times to help the loose race car on the restarts, the handling was never able to come around to Yeley's liking.

With Yeley running in and around the 25th position for most of the day, Addington took a gamble on the final pit stop of the day with 46 laps to go and elected to take right side tires in an effort to gain track position.

The two-tire stop moved Yeley up to 15th on the lap 259 restart. Unfortunately, the gamble didn't pay off as planned. The Interstate Batteries machine started the run too loose, resulting in the loss of several spots immediately upon the race going green.

"I don't think it would have mattered if we took two or four tires. We were a sitting duck on restarts," said Yeley. "When everyone else went for it on the restarts, I just couldn't get back into the throttle and got freight-trained."

Yeley's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin won Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 300. It was his first win of the season and the third of his career. The win also marked Joe Gibbs Racing's 55th in Nextel Cup and its first with the new Car of Tomorrow. The team's previous Nextel Cup win came at Texas last November at the hands of Tony Stewart.

Hamlin remains the lead Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the championship point race, as his win maintained his second-place standing. Hamlin is now 156 points arrears series leader Jeff Gordon. Tony Stewart, Yeley's other Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, held steady at sixth in points after finishing 12th.

Finishing second to Hamlin in the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 was Gordon, while Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five. Jeff Green, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the July 7 Pepsi 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live, high-definition coverage provided by TNT beginning with its pre-race show at 6:30 p.m.

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , J.J. Yeley , Martin Truex Jr. , Denny Hamlin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing