Yeley Endures Short Day at Texas
Interstate Batteries Team Finishes 43rd After Being Taken Out on First Lap
Even though the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Team looks forward to their twice-a-year trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to visit the home base of primary sponsor Interstate Batteries, driver J.J. Yeley will admit that Texas Motor Speedway has never been kind to him or his team.
Despite the tough luck in the past in both his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series outings at Texas, Yeley had been looking forward to Sunday's Samsung 500 and expected a turnabout is his third trip to the tricky 1.5-mile oval.
But after getting spun by the No. 6 car of David Ragan on the first lap of the 334-lap race and backing hard into the frontstretch wall, Yeley's day was over before it ever really began. Extensive damage kept the team from returning to the track, as they were first car out of the race and credited with a 43rd-place finish.
"We got wrecked," said a disappointed Yeley. "We were three abreast at one point going into turn three. I think David (Ragan) checked up and we were two-wide coming down the frontstretch and I was on the outside. I was as close to the fence as I could be and got hit in the left rear corner and got turned around. That made us back it into the fence and the car was done."
"It's really disappointing for everyone here with the Interstate Batteries team. We were fast in practice and, to me, it's just stupidity. This is one of the longest races we are in and we had a totally different track than earlier in the weekend and to go out there and race like that before you know what your car is going to be like is just silly."
After exiting the car and looking on as the Interstate Batteries team worked hard to make repairs, Yeley still couldn't believe that his race was over after just one lap.
"I thought someone actually got into the No. 6 car, but I guess at some point he might realize that the throttle pedal has a hinge on it," said Yeley. "Pick it up if you are pushing or loose or whatever it is, but he didn't lift off of it and it wrecked a bunch of race cars. He blamed it on his spotter and said that he said it was clear. But he hit me in the left rear corner, so he needs to change the way his seat is mounted because the spotter shouldn't have to tell you that there is a car next to you. I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose, but it was just a stupid move considering we had a long way to go."
Yeley will have to wait until November to tackle Texas again, but hopes that a trip to his hometown of Phoenix next weekend will produce some much needed home cooking for the team.
"I guess this is par for the course at Texas," said Yeley. "This race track and I have not gotten along. My streak has not gotten any better. We'll keep our heads up. This is a great race team and this is definitely not what we needed as far as points are concerned, but we'll bounce back next weekend at Phoenix."
Yeley's Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates -- Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart -- finished ninth and 25th, respectively. Hamlin continues to be the lead JGR driver in the championship point race, as his ninth-place finish moved him up one spot to fifth in the standings. Stewart and Yeley occupy the ninth and 22nd positions, respectively. Stewart dropped one spot due to his 25th-place result, while Yeley dropped four positions care of his last-place finish.
Jeff Burton won the Samsung 500 to score his 19th career Nextel Cup victory and his second at Texas. Matt Kenseth finished second, while Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya, Hamlin and David Stremme comprised the remainder of the top-10.
The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the April 21 Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway. The race begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT.