Atlanta II: JJ Yeley race report

Punctured Tire Ruins Yeley's Day at Atlanta Interstate Batteries Team Falls Victim to Bad Luck Two Weeks in a Row If seems as of late that if J.J. Yeley didn't have bad luck, he might not have any luck at all. Yeley, driver of the No. 18...

Punctured Tire Ruins Yeley's Day at Atlanta
Interstate Batteries Team Falls Victim to Bad Luck Two Weeks in a Row

If seems as of late that if J.J. Yeley didn't have bad luck, he might not have any luck at all.

Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), fell victim to another problem not of his own doing for the second week in a row. Last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Yeley lost an engine just before the halfway point that forced him to settle for a 42nd-place finish.

In Sunday's Atlanta 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a punctured right-rear tire sent him into the turn three wall on lap 56, causing extensive damage to the right side of his race car. Yeley was forced to pull the car into the garage for repairs by the Interstate Batteries team. After welding on a new rear deck lid and right-rear quarter panel, Yeley was able to make it back on track on lap 101 -- some 44 laps later -- and finished 54 laps down to the leaders.

The early-race incident and subsequent extended stay behind the wall for repairs forced the team to resign itself to a 35th-place finish.

"We got to where we were pretty decent," said Yeley of his car prior to the accident. "Then we got to where we were loose in and we dropped the track bar and did some things to help the car get secured up. We were coming back through the field and the car was really, really tight and, all of a sudden, I rolled through the center of (turn) one and (turn) two and the car really rotated. It was suddenly loose and I thought maybe I found some grip in the race track. I got to (turn) three and went to the bottom and got really loose, tried to save it, but slapped the wall with the right side of the car. We had a hole in the right rear tire and they don't have much grip when they're flat."

>From there, all Yeley could do was ride around and hope to gain a few precious points and salvage the best finish he could.

"When you have to spend a lot of time running around in an injured race car at a place like this that is so fast, it's a really long day," said Yeley. "I feel bad for the Interstate Batteries guys. They've been working hard and they deserve better runs. Last week, I thought we had a pretty good run going at Martinsville and we blew an engine. And this week we cut a tire. We have three more to go and we have to pick up the pace."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers J.J. Yeley
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing