Loudon II: JJ Yeley race report

Yeley Notches Second Top-10 Finish in a Row Interstate Batteries Team Getting Hot as Weather Cools While the 12-driver Chase for the Nextel Cup kicked off Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon without J.J. Yeley as a part of...

Yeley Notches Second Top-10 Finish in a Row
Interstate Batteries Team Getting Hot as Weather Cools

While the 12-driver Chase for the Nextel Cup kicked off Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon without J.J. Yeley as a part of the group eligible to compete for this year's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship, the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) used the opportunity to remind everyone that he is capable of running up front with those in the Chase.

Yeley brought home a 10th-place finish in Sunday's Sylvania 300, backing up last week's top-10 finish at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

Yeley, along with Casey Mears and Ryan Newman, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively, were the only drivers not a part of this year's Chase to finish in the top-10 at New Hampshire.

"It's just a lot more fun running up front," said Yeley of his past two races. "Obviously, you're racing with the better guys and they're a little more courteous, and the car runs better because you're running toward the front. All of the Interstate Batteries guys did a really good job. We were on the right pit sequence for a good part of the race and made the right decisions. It was definitely a good run, and I'm happy to log two top-10 finishes in a row.

"We want to win a race before the year is out. That's the main goal. But at the same time, if we continue to finish in the top-10, we'll peck away at the guys in front of us in points. It would be cool to get back into the top-15 in points before the year is out."

After starting 21st, Yeley and crew chief Steve Addington knew they had another strong car early in the race, but exercised patience over the first 150 laps of the 300-lap event. The goal was to wait for a chance to use pit strategy to gain track position.

That opportunity came on lap 164, 10 laps after the caution flag flew to allow Yeley to pit for tires and fuel. While the rest of the field dove onto pit road for tires, Addington made the call for fuel only. As a result, Yeley gained 10 spots on pit road and the Interstate Batteries machine was in a position to only have to stop one more time before the end of the race.

When the green flag waved on lap 179, Yeley was in 12th, but quickly gained two spots in only a couple of laps. He held onto 10th for the last 113 laps, bringing home another solid finish for the Interstate Batteries team.

"I didn't want to see any cautions," said Yeley of the long green flag run at the end of the race. "The car was really good, but it was so hard to pass. I watched the 12 (Newman) trying to wreck the 25 (Mears) the last 10 laps, and I could see Jamie McMurray was catching me when I was trying to get through lapped traffic. There are so many things that can happen. I had a fast race car, but having an open track versus trying to pass everyone was another story."

"It makes us feel pretty good that we were one of the few non-Chase guys to race in the top-10 today," said Addington after the race. "We unloaded good on Friday and we had a good race at Richmond. This Interstate Batteries crew really worked hard this weekend. The pit stops were decent all day and J.J. did a good job all day long for us."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , J.J. Yeley
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing