NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2010 NASCAR Driver Review: JJ Yeley

JJ Yeley

2010 Rides: Nos. 46 and 81 Whitney Motorsports Dodge, No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet, No. 26 Latitude 43 Motorsports Ford
2010 Primary Sponsors: Jake Owen Raborn Foundation (No. 46, Charlotte) Promise Village (No. 46, Michigan), International Trucks (No. 46, Infineon), Cash America (No. 46, Daytona and Pocono), Red Line Oil/Whitney’s Collision Centers (No. 46, Martinsville), Air National Guard (No. 26, Phoenix)
2010 Owners: Tommy Baldwin (No. 36), Bill Jenkins (No. 26), Dusty Whitney (Nos. 46 and 81)
2010 Crew Chiefs: Buddy Sisco, Jeremy Lafaver (Whitney Motorsports), Frankie Stoddard (Latitude 43), Tommy Baldwin
2010 Stats: 17 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 44th in points

High Point: Yeley only went the distance in three races last year (Daytona in July, Infineon and Phoenix in November). His only lead-lap finish was on the road in Sonoma, but history will show that his 19th-place run at Daytona was the best of the season, and highest showing since a strategy-induced third-place finish in New Hampshire in 2008.

On the Truck Series docket, Yeley made only one start in 2010, at the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona, and scored an impressive 10th-place run in Daisy Ramirez’s No. 01 Chevy Silverado.

Low Point: The low points outweighed the highs for Yeley in 2010. Outside of the 19th at Daytona, he had only one other finish inside the top 30 — a 26th at Infineon. But DNQs are the bane of a start-and-park’s existence, and Yeley had six of those, where the team wasted a lot of diesel fuel getting to the track only to leave without a share of the purse.

Summary: The low points have outweighed the highs since Yeley last ran full-time in the Cup Series. Four top-10 performances in 2006-07 driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet gave way to a 17-race slate in the now-defunct Hall of Fame Racing’s No. 96 Toyota the following year. That ride once had a JGR alliance, but after a lone top-five finish and a struggle to simply stay inside the Top 35 during that season, Yeley’s tenure there – and seemingly his Cup career – was toast.

Since that dried up, Yeley has contracted his services to anyone willing to put him in a seat, meaning start-and-park rides have been the norm rather than the exception. Such was the case in 2010, when Yeley averaged a 37.1-place finish in 17 starts.

Team Ranking: First… I guess. Yeley made 11 starts for Whitney Motorsports, which is four more than the “next” guy, that being Michael McDowell, who made seven starts. (Terry Cook and Terry Labonte combined for four starts.) This ranking is a bit deceiving, though, as it’s tough to truly “rank” on-again, off-again teammates in an S&P setup.

2011 Outlook: The 2003 USAC Triple Crown champion will run the 2011 Chili Bowl, as he normally does. On the NASCAR side, Yeley has no solid plans announced yet, but will most likely find himself filling seats in whatever S&P rides throw him a bone.

2006 Frontstretch Grade: C+
2007 Grade: C-
2008 Grade: D
2009 Grade: N/A
2010 Grade: D-

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