YELEY RETURNS FOR ANOTHER TRY AT "HUT HUNDRED" In 2003 J.J. Yeley took home an all-time record 24 USAC feature trophies. One that eluded him was the "Hut Hundred" Midget race at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. On October 4...
YELEY RETURNS FOR ANOTHER TRY AT "HUT HUNDRED"
In 2003 J.J. Yeley took home an all-time record 24 USAC feature trophies. One that eluded him was the "Hut Hundred" Midget race at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. On October 4 he'll return for another try at one of America's prized victories in the 100-lap race which is scheduled to start 33 cars, three-breast. The race is sponsored by First Financial Bank and presented by Dorsett Mitsubishi.
Yeley, of Phoenix, Ariz., is slated to drive the Triple Crown Racing Hot Hues/Husqvarna Spike/Stanton at Terre Haute after wheeling another car to a sensational victory in last Saturday's "4-Crown Nationals" at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. The Eldora win came in his first USAC Midget start since late-2007 and he was piloting Terry Klatt's Beast/Esslinger Ford.
"Obviously I feel like I can win or I wouldn't be running," says Yeley. "We've got a brand new version of the Mopar engine for Terre Haute and I'm looking forward to adding that race to my resume. It's a race with a lot of great tradition and I'd like to win it."
The 100-lap race is a strategic event and Yeley has some thoughts about how to be competitive at the end. "One of the drawbacks to leading so long like I did in 2003 is that the groove you develop often goes away. Dave (Darland) was working better on the cushion than I was and by the time I switched lanes it was too late. Survival is the key word in a 100-lapper and you need to make sure you have a good handling car at the end. Horsepower is critical but the track can change a lot during the race."
One of only four USAC Triple Crown Champions (Dave Darland, Tony Stewart and Pancho Carter are the others), Yeley led the first 75 laps of the 2003 "Hut Hundred" after starting on the front row but lost to his teammate, Darland. J.J. had won the "Tony Hulman Classic" Sprint race at Terre Haute four months earlier. J.J.'s last "Hut Hundred" appearance in 2004 resulted in a DNF, 28th place.
J.J. also led 28 laps of the 2002 "Hut Hundred" but finished third behind Mike Hess and Dave Darland. The previous year he was second to Tracy Hines in the "Hut," which was held that year at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind. His first three "Hut Hundred" starts in 1997-98-99 netted no better than a 29th-place finish.
Yeley is one of only a baker's dozen USAC drivers with 60 career National victories. His Eldora win was his first in nearly a year, having won the Silver Crown race at Kansas City, Kans. in September of 2007.
Nothing would be better than an early birthday present for J.J., who will celebrate his 32nd the day after the Terre Haute race!