Texas II: JJ Yeley race report

Yeley's String of Bad Luck at Texas Finally Ends It didn't come easy, but J.J. Yeley was just happy to finally snap his string of bad luck at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Monte...

Yeley's String of Bad Luck at Texas Finally Ends

It didn't come easy, but J.J. Yeley was just happy to finally snap his string of bad luck at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

The driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) overcame a spin on lap 117 to finish 17th in Sunday's Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. It was Yeley's first top-20 finish and his best result in four career Nextel Cup races at Texas.

"We could either make the car really good on the front part of the run or at the end of the run, but we couldn't seem to put one good fuel run together," said Yeley. "It always seemed like we were on the wrong cycle. When we were good on the front end, we ended up having a long green flag run. And when were good on the back end, the green flag run was never long enough."

To dig out of their early-race hole via the 38th-place starting position earned during Friday's time trials, the Interstate Batteries team used pit strategy to gain some much needed track position. Crew chief Steve Addington made the call for a two-tire stop during the second caution period of the day on lap 21, and elected to stay out when others pitted during the third and fourth cautions of the day on laps 30 and 37, respectively.

But the strategy didn't quite work out as planned when the race went green for 78 laps and Yeley was eventually lapped by then-leader Kyle Busch. Just after being passed by Busch and hoping for a caution to get his lap back, Yeley became the caution when he spun through the frontstretch grass on lap 117 as he skidded off turn four.

The spin yielded minimal damage, but it put the No. 18 team in a deficit they couldn't overcome.

"Early in the race we got lapped. I was trying to catch up to the 19 (Elliott Sadler) car and contend for the lucky dog and I got loose," said Yeley. "Instead of hitting the fence, I just jerked the wheel and spun through the grass."

While Yeley got his lap back on lap 186, another long, green flag run took him off the lead lap on 204th circuit around the 1.5-mile oval. For the rest of the race Yeley battled to get his lap back, but the cautions would not fall his way. He ended up being the only car one lap down when the checkered flag flew.

"It's 17th-place and I think it's my best finish here in Texas," said Yeley. "The way my luck normally goes here, the thing would have caught on fire and wrecked all the way down the front straightaway. It's got all the fenders on it and we'll use it as a backup for Homestead, since I think they're building a new car for that race. It was a decent day, not spectacular. But when your luck has been as bad as ours has been here, I guess we'll take it and move on back home to Phoenix."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers J.J. Yeley , Elliott Sadler , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing