Phoenix: JJ Yeley preview

J.J. YELEY A Rather Busy Homecoming in Phoenix CORNELIUS, N.C. (April 8, 2008) -- If there is one race track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule that is of utmost importance to J.J. Yeley and the Hall of Fame Racing (HoFR) team, it's the...

J.J. YELEY
A Rather Busy Homecoming in Phoenix

CORNELIUS, N.C. (April 8, 2008) -- If there is one race track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule that is of utmost importance to J.J. Yeley and the Hall of Fame Racing (HoFR) team, it's the mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).

Yeley, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing, was born and raised in Phoenix and still has plenty of family and friends in the area.

Hall of Fame Racing's owners, Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel, reside in the Phoenix area and are executives of the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball team. Moorad is general partner and chief executive officer, while Garfinkel is executive vice president and chief operating officer.

While Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500k at PIR will be the main focus of Yeley and Hall of Fame Racing, there will be plenty of other activities surrounding the event.

At the top of the list will be Yeley throwing out the first pitch on April 9 when the Diamondbacks play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Game time is 12:40 p.m. (PDT) and the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry show car is scheduled to make an appearance during the first-pitch ceremony.

In addition, the Diamondbacks 10th anniversary logo will be displayed near the wheel-well of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota.

J.J. YELEY, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry:

What are your overall thoughts heading to Phoenix?

"I always get excited going to Phoenix. It's the race track I've had the most success at. We had a really good test with the DLP Toyota Camry about a month and a half ago. The short-track program at Hall of Fame Racing is very good. I think Phoenix is a place we can go and get some big points and get our best finish of the season."

How much do you get to see your family and friends while you are out there?

"Generally during the spring race, I don't get to see that many people because of the way the race track schedule is. Because it's a night race, we practice a lot in the afternoon and night, so you don't get to see friends and family all that much. It's hard to do early in the day because most everyone is working. We're going to go out early and hopefully we'll see as many people as we can. I hate to get out there and not have a chance to see everyone."

What are your thoughts on throwing out the first pitch on Wednesday?

"Growing up in Phoenix, it's a special honor to stand on the mound at Chase Field and throw out the first pitch at a D-backs game. This team is exciting to watch, as a big D-backs fan I'm looking forward to a great season. It's going to be interesting and exciting. I used to play Little League baseball, so I've played the game. But, it's been a really long time."

What is your first memory of Phoenix international Raceway (PIR)?

"My first memory of PIR is probably racing my bicycle around as a kid. Back then, the area around the track was more open and more in the desert and me and some friends would just race our bikes all day long and also watch a good bit of the Copper World Classic. That was the race we always used to go and watch. It's amazing how the track has changed and how the sport has changed. What I like about PIR is that it's a real race track. It's challenging and a great place to drive."

Do you know how many different types of cars you have raced at PIR?

"I've race six different divisions. I've raced (Sprint) Cup and Nationwide, Indy cars, and USAC Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget cars there. I think the Midgets are probably the most fun to drive there. Drafting comes into play there a lot. You put a car that small on a 1-mile track, with three groves, it's a dicey, exciting race. That's always the most exciting race for me to do."

How important is the Phoenix weekend to you and the team?

"You always want to run well in front of family and friends and, obviously, with Tom and Jeff living out there, it's an important race and we want to put on a good show for everyone. It's definitely one of the more important races on the schedule for us."

-credit: hofr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Teams Hall of Fame Racing