Syracuse, New York - J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. captured the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship Saturday with a thrilling victory in the season-finale at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y. He led the final three laps of the...
Syracuse, New York - J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. captured the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship Saturday with a thrilling victory in the season-finale at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y. He led the final three laps of the "Little Trees Salt City 100" in his Team ASE/Ford Beast after passing race leader Rich Tobias, Jr. exiting turn two on lap 98. Tobias spun entering turn three and hit the outside wall and was relegated to a 17th-place finish after leading 83 laps!
Yeley started 14th in the 30-car field and worked his way to the front quickly. He was sixth by lap six, moved into fifth on lap 13 and was fourth by lap 16. On lap 79 he passed front-row starters Jerry Coons, Jr. and John Heydenreich to take second.
Tobias admitted to a driver error, costing him the race, although his car was smoking most of the race from brake usage. Tobias' father Dick, who was a USAC Sprint car regular who was fatally injured in 1978 at Flemington, N.J.
"My car was absolutely awesome," said Yeley in victory lane. "I had no trouble passing on the outside and a couple of drivers made mistakes which helped me. I tried to put pressure on Tobias and was hoping he too would make a mistake, but I have to admit these cars are a handful after having a chance to run a modified here." Yeley is also slated compete in Sunday's Super Dirt Week "Eckerd 200" Modified race at the 1-mile dirt oval.
Yeley's title pursuers never caught him Saturday. Series runner-up Dave Steele finished fifth, while Tracy Hines, who took third in the final standings, retired from the event with a broken drive line after 84 laps.
Yeley's car owners, NASCAR star Tony Stewart and car builder Bob East, also claimed a USAC title, beating Steele's car owner Gratton Racing by three points to win the Weld Racing Silver Crown car owner's championship.
Jerry Coons, Jr. started on the pole with a new track record speed of 115.182 mph and led the first 14 laps before yielding to Tobias.