JJ Yeley’s Homecoming Tarnished by Early Race Contact
Date: March 3, 2013
Event: Subway Fresh Fit 500k (Race 2 of 36)
Track: Phoenix International Raceway
Point Standing: 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points, 40 behind leader Jimmie Johnson
JJ Yeley, driver of the No. 36 Accell Construction Chevrolet SS for Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR), returned to his home track of Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and was looking to continue the momentum the team built on at Daytona.
As soon as the green flag dropped, Yeley battled a loose-handling car. He and Crew Chief Joe Lax strategized on how to tune up the No. 36 and were communicating well in just their second race together.
At lap 89, Yeley was unexpectedly hit in the left rear quarter panel by the No.10 car. No caution was brought out for that incident but laps later when another caution flew, the Accell Construction pit crew evaluated the damage on the car.
As the laps wound down, Yeley said the car was the best it’s been all day. Happy with the handling and on the lead lap, with 20 laps to go Yeley was pushed into the wall by the No. 88. The final caution brought a green-white-checkered finish and unfortunately Yeley ran out of fuel on the final lap. Finishing 28th, Yeley leaves Phoenix 13th in the points.
“Racing at Phoenix is always a special time for me – seeing family and friends, it means a lot to me to be here,” Yeley said. “It was a tough day for the Accell Construction team, we are ready to head to Las Vegas and keep fighting.”
“We wanted to keep the momentum from Daytona going,” said Joe Lax, “but we suffered damage by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The good news is that we are continuing to make great strides on the No. 36, and we look forward to seeing what we’ve got for Vegas.”