Dover: JJ Yeley race report

Yeley Survives Early Brush with Wall to Finish 24th at Dover J.J. Yeley's day at Dover (Del.) International Speedway was nearly over before it started. The driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry finished a respectable 24th in the Best...

Yeley Survives Early Brush with Wall to Finish 24th at Dover

J.J. Yeley's day at Dover (Del.) International Speedway was nearly over before it started.

The driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry finished a respectable 24th in the Best Buy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the "Monster Mile," but it didn't come easy. Just two laps into the event, Yeley's DLP machine was tapped by Mark Martin's car in between turns one and two.

The nudge from behind sent Yeley into the SAFER Barrier along the outside retaining wall. Fortunately, the car suffered just a glancing blow and Yeley was able to keep control and motored on without further incident.

After a positive inspection by Yeley's Hall of Fame Racing crew during their next scheduled pit stop -- along with an apology sent from Mark Martin via his spotter -- Yeley found himself in 38th-place. But he quickly managed to work his way into the top-25 as he and crew chief Steve Boyer assessed and worked on the handling of the No. 96 ride.

Unfortunately, what did not play in their favor was an unusually long stretch of green flag racing at Dover. The high-banked, concrete oval is known to be tough on man and machine, but Sunday's race saw only five caution periods for 26 laps, with only four laps of caution in the last 240 laps of the 400-lap race.

That meant Yeley, like several other drivers, finished well off the lead lap. Only the top six cars finished the entire 400-lap distance, with Yeley completing 394 laps.

"We had early contact," Yeley said. "I got hit from behind on the very start of the race and got in the fence. I'm not so sure that we didn't bend something because the car just really didn't drive very well after that. We could dictate what the car did in the entry and center (of the corner), but we never did fix the exit. If you can't get to the throttle at this place, you're kind of in trouble. So I just ran around and brought it back in one piece for a 24th-place finish."

The top-25 effort kept Yeley 36th in the championship driver standings, with a post-Dover total of 842 points. The No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing entry is 37th in the series' owner standings with 870 points, 142 markers behind the 35th-place No. 55 car of Michael Waltrip Racing.

-credit: hofr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , J.J. Yeley , Mark Martin
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Hall of Fame Racing