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Voices from the Heartland: In Less Than a Year, An Overrated Driver is Found Out

Once in a while, something happens in the world of NASCAR that affords me the opportunity to be one of those annoying guys that no one wants to share a beverage with. You know the kind – the guy who says “Ha Ha! Told you so!” I try not to be that guy too often – even though I am mostly right about most things – because let’s face it, I like people to share their beverages with me! However, since I recently discovered the petty cash box here at Frontstretch’s Iowa office and took a crowbar to it, I have bought my own box of beverages, and can now sit here and say…

“Ha Ha! Told you so!”

I speak of none other than the satisfying news that JJ Yeley has been released by Hall of Fame Racing effective immediately! Oh, what a difference a year (almost) makes, eh JJ?

Try not to get too turned off by my snooticism as you read this, because I’m not really saying “I told ya so” to all the people who actually heard me say Yeley was overrated; I’m directing it more towards HoF Racing!

Turns out that Tony Raines, whom Yeley replaced in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota at the beginning of this year, should have never been let go. No, Raines’s record was not stellar for the two full years that he drove for HoF… but he was improving. So much so that by the time Yeley made the “agonizing” decision to “leave” JGR to oust Raines at HoF’s request, Raines had successfully kept the No. 96 in the coveted Top 35 throughout his tenure. To fully understand how “agonizingly” full of horse hockey Yeley is, lets step back a few months.

“When you leave an organization like Joe Gibbs Racing, one of the top teams in NASCAR, you want to try to make the right step to be more successful,” said Yeley back in September of 2007. “I’ve never had to make a decision this difficult in my life, but I’m confident that Hall of Fame Racing will be competitive week-in and week out and build the future team around me as their driver. The affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the great people in Phoenix was just an added bonus that makes it the perfect fit for me. The benefit of this team is that there’s already a great history and foundation in place with equipment from Joe Gibbs Racing, which is equal to the best equipment in the sport. All those things added up to make me feel that Hall of Fame Racing and DLP will be the best fit for me.”

BOWLES: JJ YELEY PROVES SOMETIMES NICE GUYS FINISH LAST

Are you kidding me? OK, I’m not a racecar driver, but even I know that “leaving” JGR for HoF in an effort “to be more successful” is NASCAR driver code for: “I really need a job, please hire me, I’ll do anything if you let me drive.” Seems to me it was more like JGR saying, “Here is some equipment and oh, by the way, it comes with a driver too!’”

Whatever the case, I am glad Yeley is gone. I don’t have anything personal against the guy, it’s just that I hated to see a man who is just as talented – if not more – get the shaft. Now its Yeley’s turn to get the shaft and when you think about it, the shaft he’s getting is even stiffer than the one given to Raines. Yeley’s contract with HoF was to run through 2010 and he is out now. At least Raines got to finish out two full seasons with HoF… that ought to tell you something.

Now, having said all that, there is one more assertion that I will make concerning HoF. You people are idiots for not inviting Raines back. Brad Coleman, who will be replacing Yeley for the remainder of this year, may very well be a talented driver – but he is not quite ready for primetime! Not if you want the car to be back in the Top 35.

Oh, did I fail to mention the fact that during Yeley’s tenure in the No. 96, he promptly drove it out of the Top 35? Not bad for HoF’s new “superstar!”

Ha Ha! Told ya so!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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