J.J. Yeley feels like he's starting to turn the corner. After coming into the Nextel Cup circuit as a highly touted rookie with Joe Gibbs Racing last season, Yeley was struggling to get to the front. But after a second place finish at Lowe's...
J.J. Yeley feels like he's starting to turn the corner.
After coming into the Nextel Cup circuit as a highly touted rookie with Joe Gibbs Racing last season, Yeley was struggling to get to the front.
But after a second place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway three weeks ago, he felt like things were starting to get better.
Today, he claimed his first pole by laying down a fast lap time of 187.505 miles per hour at Michigan International Speedway.
"I try not to get into the whole confidence thing of running good and running bad, but there is a confidence with the team where everyone works a little harder and things work more smoothly," said Yeley, whose previous best qualifying effort was second at Texas last year. "It takes a team effort to be competitive on Sunday. There are so many things that can happen that are out of your control but can ruin your day."
Yeley hopes that he can follow up his good starting position with another solid finish on Sunday.
"We've had fifth place cars, but were running 20th on the race track," Yeley said. "We can run the right times, it's just that we didn't have the track position. Setting the pole is the right way to do it."
Yeley finished at the back of the pack in both races at MIS during his rookie season and said that helped him learn to be patient with the two-mile circuit.
"This is one of my favourite race tracks," said Yeley, who had a DNF and a 37th place run last year. "I love coming to this place because it's a lot of fun. If you look up the definition of a race track, Michigan should be it. It's big, it's fast and it's a lot of fun. The most important thing for me was patience. This race track is really easy to overdrive the entry and I'm the worst one for doing that. It's all about not overstepping the boundaries of the grip that the tires will give you."
Jimmie Johnson was the second to last car to qualify and he missed Yeley's time by 5/1000ths of a second while his teammate Kyle Busch qualified third despite a tumultuous week.
"It was a good, steady lap," said Busch, who is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season after Hendrick announced on Wednesday that he has signed Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I just try to go about things the best I can. There are still a lot of things to think about -- the guys at Hendrick Motorsports. You've got to think about your future and keep it all in perspective."
Ryan Newman and Joe Nemechek round out the top five for Sunday's Citizens Bank 400.