J.J. Yeley's Saturday night rocked as he rolled to a solid 10th-place finish in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Impala...
J.J. Yeley's Saturday night rocked as he rolled to a solid 10th-place finish in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Impala SS for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), knew crew chief Steve Addington had given him a solid race car right from start, but his 36th-place starting position was the first of many hurdles to overcome throughout the 400-lap race.
"The entire Interstate Batteries team did their job tonight," said Yeley, who notched his second top-10 finish of the season. "It was awesome. Steve (Addington) had a really good car underneath me from the get-go. We just tuned on it all night. Pit stops tonight were great."
While Yeley moved up through the field to 13th-place by the Lap 206 restart, he dropped to 27th soon after the restart. But the entire team never gave up and Yeley quickly moved back up through the field, narrowly missing two accidents that caused two red-flag periods.
After the second red flag of the day was lifted on Lap 296, Yeley again moved through the field from 27th-place into the top-20.
The Interstate Batteries over-the-wall crew gained Yeley even more track position with a good stop on Lap 337 that helped Yeley restart in 16th-place on Lap 340.
From there, Yeley did the rest by passing six cars throughout the last 50 laps of the race, along with a battle for ninth-place with Kurt Busch on the last lap. The strong finish netted Yeley his best result since the Coca-Cola 600 in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway when he finished second to Casey Mears.
"With about seven laps to go the 10 car (Scott Riggs) was down on the apron and I thought he was going to pull in the pits and he shot back out in front of me," said Yeley of his late race run up the leaderboard. "I think he legitimately cost us two spots. I was just catching the '9' (Kasey Kahne) and the '2' (Kurt Busch) and I lost everything I just gained. To be side-by-side there at the end fighting for ninth-place was great. To start back as far as we did and end up 10th was definitely a good night.
"If you want to have a good run, you want to have your car best at the end of the night," added Yeley. "I would have liked to have even two more laps. About 280 laps in I was complaining because the first 200 laps blew by so fast, then all the sudden it was going by at a snail's pace. It's always fun when a car handles that good. When the car runs good, you forget about everything else and enjoy the race more."