J.J. Yeley To Make NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Debut at Michigan Statesville, NC - J.J. Yeley will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut Saturday, July 31, 2004 at Michigan International Speedway. The budding NASCAR star...
J.J. Yeley To Make NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Debut at Michigan
Statesville, NC - J.J. Yeley will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut Saturday, July 31, 2004 at Michigan International Speedway. The budding NASCAR star will pilot the No. 47 Acxiom Silverado fielded by Morgan Dollar Motorsports. Veteran Randy Goss will serve as crew chief for Yeley's inaugural NCTS event.
"I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work with this Morgan Dollar Motorsports team," said Yeley. "They are a first-class outfit, and they have experienced some great success thus far in 2004. It's very evident of how strong this race team is by taking a glance at the top of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings."
Yeley brings an already impressive racing resume to his first outing with the Bowtie Team Silverado program. He is only the second driver in history to win the United States Auto Club (USAC) Triple Crown by winning the championship in all three major USAC divisions (Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget Car) in one year. Mentor Tony Stewart was the first to score this major accomplishment. With a total of 51 USAC victories and five USAC championships and a record 24 wins in a single USAC season, Yeley caught the eye of Joe Gibbs. Gibbs is well aware of the magnitude of these accomplishments and the potential that Yeley demonstrated having seen the same traits in Stewart. In just his sixth year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR Nextel Cup, Stewart has amassed 18 wins and the 2002 series championship.
Gibbs signed the young Phoenix, AZ native to what is termed the A-B-C (ARCA, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Nextel Cup) program of driver development beginning with the 2004 Season. Yeley's stint in the No. 47 Acxiom Silverado will be additional training for his climb up the NASCAR ladder.
In preparation for the upcoming Michigan race, Yeley tested in the No. 47 Acxiom Silverado at Chicagoland Speedway with Morgan Dollar Motorsports teammate Dennis Setzer. Setzer, who drives the #46 Chevrolet Silverado, has already scored two wins in 2004 and sits atop the NCTS point standings.
"The test at Chicagoland went very well," Yeley continued. "We made some long race runs, and our times remained very consistent. We had the opportunity to make several different adjustments during the two-day test, but overall the truck was very comfortable to drive. Randy Goss and everyone on the Acxiom team works very well together, which makes this effort all the more enjoyable and exciting for me."
The No. 47 Acxiom Silverado team has already demonstrated the ability to field a truck capable of winning a NCTS race. As the first of seven special races titled the Chevy Silverado Celebrity All Star program, Michael Waltrip drove the Acxiom Silverado with a special musical partner paint scheme at Charlotte in May 2004. Waltrip took his Sheryl Crow truck to the front and was poised to win the race when late race contact ended his chances for victory but still kept him in the top-five. Setzer went on to the winner's circle.
"There is a very impressive list of drivers slated to race this #47 Chevy," Yeley concluded. "Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Robby Gordon, Ricky Craven, Ward Burton, and Michael Waltrip are all going to race this truck once this year. Michael ran it at Charlotte back in May, and he was very strong. He led some laps, finished 5th and had a truck capable of winning. It would be awesome to win my race at Michigan and give the rest of those guys something to shoot for later in the year."
The Line-X Spray-on Truck Bedliners 200 will mark J.J. Yeley's first ever race at Michigan International Speedway, but it will not be the first time Yeley has been on the racing surface in the Irish Hills of Michigan. Yeley completed a two-day test session for Joe Gibbs Racing at Michigan on July 21 and 22 in preparation for his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut. Yeley's first NEXTEL Cup Series race will be in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan on Sunday, August 22. Yeley will pilot the #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Joe Gibbs Racing.