J.J. YELEY Sprint Showdown -- 40 Laps of Fun CORNELIUS, N.C. (May 13, 2008) -- Former University of Arkansas men's basketball coach Nolan Richardson used such an up-tempo, fast-paced, defensive-minded style of hoops that it was called "40...
Sprint Showdown -- 40 Laps of Fun
CORNELIUS, N.C. (May 13, 2008) -- Former University of Arkansas men's basketball coach Nolan Richardson used such an up-tempo, fast-paced, defensive-minded style of hoops that it was called "40 minutes of hell."
For J.J. Yeley and the DLP HDTV/Hall of Fame Racing Team, Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Showdown at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway will be like Richardson's hoops style -- fast, up-tempo and defensive-minded. But instead of 40 minutes of hell, Yeley's hoping it turns into 40 laps of fun, and a ticket into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
The Sprint Showdown consists of two 20-lap segments on the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval. Of the 29 cars entered in the Showdown, the winner and runner-up, along with the winner of a fan vote, advance to the Sprint All-Star Race to join the 21 drivers who are already eligible for the 100-lap event. The All-Star Race is open to drivers and owners who have won a race in 2007 or 2008, in addition to All-Star Race winners and Sprint Cup champions from the past 10 years. Yeley and others must advance via the Sprint Showdown.
Yeley's "40 Laps of Fun" is old school racing -- for nothing more than pride, trophies and cash. And if all goes well, something might be learned for next week's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, one of the most important races on the circuit.
J.J. YELEY, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry:
Do you go into the Sprint Showdown looking to win, or do you view it as a test session for the Coca-Cola 600?
"I think you do both. It's definitely a test session. Our mile-and-a-half program -- our intermediate program -- has gotten a lot better in the last few weeks. We had a tough second day in the test at Charlotte. We lost an engine, so we didn't get a lot of miles, and we still have some things we want to figure out. We want to go out in the Sprint Showdown and try to be smart, learn some things and if we have a chance to win, go after it. If not, we're just going to learn all we can for the '600' and make sure we have a really solid car."
Has the track changed much since you last raced there in October 2007?
"It really hasn't changed a whole lot. The cars are running a little bit quicker. The grip is pretty good. It's just amazing the differences between the old car and the new car. Everyone is trying to do what they can to make these cars turn. It's exciting."
What is your strategy going into the 40-lap Sprint Showdown?
"I don't know if there is much strategy that gets played out other than qualifying the best that you can. You know you're not going to have a lot of laps to get to the front. You know there is usually going to be only one caution, so it makes it pretty much a sprint race. You know you need to get after it and get out front. It's going to be a lot about qualifying. The guys who qualify well will be the guys who get out front."