It was Yeley’s fourth last-place finish of 2011 and his first in two races, when he trailed the field at Pocono earlier this month.
Yeley qualified 31st for Sunday’s race at a speed of 186.287 mph, ranking him 3rd behind Casey Mears and teammate Travis Kvapil among the field’s “go-or-go-home” drivers. The run was more than enough to lock Yeley into the field ahead of Johnny Sauter in Robby Gordon’s #7, Erik Darnell in Dusty Whitney’s #46, and T.J. Bell’s Joe Falk-owned #50, who all failed to qualify.
Early in the race, it appeared that Mike Skinner, his #60 slowest in both the weekend’s practice sessions, would tie Michael McDowell for the 2011 LASTCAR Cup Series lead. With McDowell again replaced by Todd Bodine in the #66 following McDowell’s Nationwide run at Montreal, Skinner, the 43rd-place starter, maintained the last position early. However, it was Yeley who fell out first, beating Skinner to the garage by three laps. Bodine finished 39th, exiting the race 21 laps into the opening green-flag run.
*The #55 had not finished last in a Cup race at Michigan since 1994, when Jimmy Hensley’s Petron Plus Ford lost its engine 2 laps into the 1994 Miller Genuine Draft 400 at Michigan.
*Ford had not finished last in a Cup race at Michigan since 2009, when Bobby Labonte’s #96 DLP Ford fell out with engine problems after 18 laps of the 2009 CARFAX 400 at Michigan.
*Yeley had never before finished last in a Cup race at Michigan.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #55-J.J. Yeley / 11 laps / electrical
42) #60-Mike Skinner / 14 laps / electrical
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 18 laps / ignition
40) #30-David Stremme / 20 laps / clutch
39) #66-Todd Bodine / 21 laps / electrical
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell (5)
2nd) Mike Skinner, J.J. Yeley (4)
3rd) Joe Nemechek (3)
4th) Kevin Conway (2)
5th) Landon Cassill, Robby Gordon, Jeff Green, P.J. Jones, Scott Riggs (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #60-Germain Racing, #66-HP Racing LLC (5)
2nd) #55-Front Row Motorsports, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (3)
3rd) #46-Whitney Motorsports,#97-NEMCO Motorsports (2)
4th) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports, #81-Whitney Motorsports, #77-Robby Gordon Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (15)
2nd) Chevrolet, Ford (3)
3rd) Dodge (2)