Yeley was competing in his second race as driver of Front Row’s new third team that debuted last month at New Hampshire when Jeff Green finished last in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Though he failed to qualify in his team debut at Indianapolis, he came back to time in 34th at a speed of 168.909 mph. It was a solid effort for driver and team as Yeley outranked all “go-or-go-homers” in Friday’s opening practice session and was ranked second of that group in qualifying. Todd Bodine, taking a turn in the HP Racing #66 while Michael McDowell competed in the Nationwide event at Iowa, qualified 30th.
In the race itself, the 43rd spot changed hands several times between Bodine, Jason White (making his Cup debut in the #32), and David Stremme in the Inception Motorsports #30. However, Yeley’s #55 was the first to go behind the wall on Lap 7, followed the next lap by Erik Darnell in Dusty Whitney’s unsponsored #46 Ford. Pocono was the first race for Whitney’s Ford as Darnell failed to qualify along with Yeley at Indianapolis.
Yeley, who started the season driving for Whitney, will race for Front Row Motorsports for the rest of 2011, splitting time between “start-and-parking” the #55 and running the full race in the #38 currently occupied by Travis Kvapil. Yeley drove the #38 to a 23rd-place finish at New Hampshire last month.
*This is the third time in the last four years that the #55 has finished last in the second Cup race at Pocono. Each time, the number was run by a different team. Last year, Michael McDowell’s unsponsored PRISM Motorsports Toyota fell out with a vibration 23 laps into the race and, in 2008, Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Toyota fell out with an engine failure after 24 laps.
*Yeley is the only Cup driver to finish last for more than one team in 2011. Prior to Sunday, he finished last in the Daytona 500 and at Richmond in Dusty Whitney’s #46, back when they ran Chevrolets.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
43) #55-J.J. Yeley / 7 laps / overheating
42) #46-Erik Darnell / 8 laps / brakes
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 14 laps / transmission
40) #37-Scott Speed / 16 laps / electrical
39) #83-Brian Vickers / 18 laps / engine
LASTCAR CUP SERIES DRIVER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Michael McDowell (5)
2nd) Joe Nemechek, Mike Skinner, J.J. Yeley (3)
3rd) Kevin Conway (2)
4th) Landon Cassill, Robby Gordon, Jeff Green, P.J. Jones, Scott Riggs (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES OWNER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) #66-HP Racing LLC (5)
2nd) #60-Germain Racing (4)
3rd) #87-NEMCO Motorsports (3)
4th) #46-Whitney Motorsports, #55-Front Row Motorsports, #97-NEMCO Motorsports (2)
5th) #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports, #81-Whitney Motorsports, #77-Robby Gordon Motorsports (1)
LASTCAR CUP SERIES MANUFACTURER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
1st) Toyota (14)
2nd) Chevrolet (3)
3rd) Dodge, Ford (2)