Yeley Falls Victim to Late Race Crash at Talladega
Date: May 5, 2013
Event: Aaron’s 499 (Race 10 of 36)
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Point Standing: 32nd
Talladega, AL (May 5, 2013) – Golden Corral returned to the hood of JJ Yeley’s No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway providing another opportunity for kids to eat free with “JJ’s Mondays” if the driver could score a top-10 finish.
The starting lineup was set by the NASCAR rulebook on Saturday after qualifying was rained out. The unfortunate turn of events would force the team to battle back from the 43rd starting position.
That’s exactly what Yeley would do from the start of the Aaron’s 499, working through the field and quickly obtaining a spot in the top-10 for much of the first half – “JJ’s Monday’s” was looking like a reality for the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet. It was after the first half that rain caused a near four hour delay and a lot of time to think about strategy for the conclusion of the race.
When the race resumed with 60 laps to go, crew chief Joe Lax brought the car down pit road to grab four tires and fuel and would have to make another charge from the back of the pack. Yeley, an experienced restrictor plate driver, once again sliced his way through the field and was sitting in second when he was caught in a huge multi-car accident on lap 182.
The damage sustained to the Golden Corral Chevy SS was too much to overcome and the team was forced to retire early, finishing in the 31st position.
Despite the outcome, Yeley was optimistic about the team’s performance and overall speed of his race car. He believes he had a shot at competing for the victory and was poised to take the lead before the accident occurred.
“My car was really bad on the bottom all day long, so I just stayed to the outside,” Yeley said. “Everyone kept getting jammed up in the middle. I could carry a ton of momentum, and pushed the No. 51 (Reagan Smith) to the lead there. I thought I was going to take the lead myself down the back straightaway. I just kind of stalled out there from a side draft from Reagan, and the No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse) thought he could stick it on the outside there, and there wasn’t enough room. He hit me in the right rear, and got me lose, and sent me back across the field. Very disappointing. I definitely thought we had at least a shot at a top-five, but we were definitely going for the win.”
Yeley hopes to carry the momentum from a competitive race into Darlington Raceway in the prestigious Southern 500. Yeley has a best finish of 18th at the Speedway and will look to best it when he dances with the “Lady in Black” on Saturday night.