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J. J. Yeley

J. J. Yeley
File:J. J. Yeley at the Daytona 500.JPG
Born (1976-10-05) October 5, 1976 (age 39)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Achievements 2001, 2003 USAC Sprint champion
2002, 2003 USAC Silver Crown champion
2003 USAC "Triple Crown" winner
2003 USAC Midget champion
Awards 1997 USAC Sprint Rookie of the Year
2002, 2003 Non-Winged Driver of the Year from the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame
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Statistics current as of May 30, 2015.

Christopher Beltram Hernandez "J. J." Yeley (born October 5, 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona)[1] is an American stock car racing driver. Nicknamed "J. J." (Jimmy/Jack; after his father and a close family friend),[2] he has competed in the Indy Racing League, and currently competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 23 Toyota Camry for BK Racing, and in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 28 for JGL Racing.

Open wheel

Yeley won the 1997 edition of Indiana Sprintweek and captured the Rookie of the Year Award in the USAC National Sprint Car Series despite starting relatively few races.

In 1998, Yeley competed in four Indy Racing League (IRL) races, including the Indianapolis 500. His one top-10 finish in these four races was at Indianapolis, where he finished 9th despite a spin on the first turn of the first lap, which nearly collected eventual race winner Eddie Cheever, Jr.

Yeley also raced in the IRL in 2000 in an underfunded effort with McCormack Motorsports, but ultimately returned to USAC racing, picking up where he had left off by winning the 2001 and 2003 National Sprint, 2002 and 2003 Silver Crown, and 2003 National Midget Series titles.

His championships in all three of USAC's top divisions in 2003 made him only the second driver, after Tony Stewart in 1995, to achieve the "Triple Crown" in a single season. Stewart was the owner of the Sprint and Silver Crown cars in Yeley's 2003 season; the Midget which Yeley drove in 2003, Steve Lewis' #9, had been driven by Stewart in 1995.

Yeley scored 24 USAC wins in his 2003 season, breaking the previous record of 19 set by A. J. Foyt in 1961 and later tied by Sleepy Tripp (1988) and Jay Drake (2000).


File:JJ Yeley.jpg
Yeley in 2006

As had Stewart, Yeley signed with Joe Gibbs Racing, starting 17 of 34 races in the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series and achieving four top-10 finishes. In that year, he also made two starts in the NEXTEL Cup #11 car and competed in the IROC series. Yeley drove the full season in 2005 in the NASCAR Busch Series for Gibbs' #18 car, posting twelve top-ten finishes and ending the season 11th in points. After the departure of Jason Leffler, who drove the #11 car in the Nextel Cup series, Yeley, Busch Series teammate Denny Hamlin, and Terry Labonte split the remaining races. Yeley drove four races, Labonte and Hamlin drove the final seven. Hamlin was named to drive the #11 FedEx car for the 2006 season. Bobby Labonte made his announcement in November that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing. On November 12, at Phoenix International Raceway, Yeley was announced as the new driver for the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet.

Yeley ran full seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series in 2006. He drove the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the NEXTEL Cup series, and the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet in the Busch Series. Yeley's best NEXTEL Cup finishes of 2006 came at California Speedway and Loudon, where he finished 8th; his best Busch Series finish came on June 17 at Kentucky Speedway. Yeley finished his 2006 season fifth in the Busch Series points standings with three poles, nine top-fives, and 22 top-10s.

File:J.J. Yeley Homestead-Miami.jpg
Yeley practicing for the 2007 Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway

His 2007 was filled with rumors about being released from Joe Gibbs Racing. At the 2007 Coca-Cola 600, Yeley scored a career high second place finish on a fuel gamble, with Casey Mears actually scoring the victory. Exactly three weeks later, at Michigan, Yeley took his first career pole at the NEXTEL Cup level, beating Jimmie Johnson by one one thousandths of a second (.001). During the middle of the 2007 season Joe Gibbs announced that his team would be switching to Toyota in 2008. Gibbs also announced that Yeley would not return for 2008. Gibbs ended up signing Kyle Busch to drive the #18.

Yeley moved to Hall of Fame Racing, an affiliate of JGR, replacing Tony Raines in the #96 DLP Toyota. His struggles continued, as the team fell from being in the top 35 every week with Raines behind the wheel to struggling to make races on a weekly basis (the team's first DNQ came with Yeley behind the wheel).

On July 5, he performed an in-race switch into the #20 car for an ill Tony Stewart. He ran strong for most of the race but was collected in two crashes within the last five laps and ended with a 20th place finish. On August 6, 2008, Yeley was released from his contract to drive for Hall of Fame Racing, first by being replaced by P. J. Jones at Watkins Glen, Nationwide Series driver and Hall of Fame Racing test driver Brad Coleman at Michigan, and Ken Schrader for the remaining races. Yeley spent the rest of the season out of a ride. In 2009, he moved to the Camping World Truck Series, driving the #73 Chevrolet Silverado for Tagsby Racing. He was also named to take over the Mayfield Motorsports #41 Sprint Cup Series entry effective immediately following the indefinite suspension of owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield due to a substance abuse violation on May 9, 2009.[3]

Later in 2009, Yeley broke three cervical vertebrae during a crash in a USAC race.

Yeley drove at Daytona in 2010 for Daisy Ramirez Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. This was the team's debut and he finished a career-best 10th after starting 36th. Yeley was announced as the driver for the Whitney Motorsports #46 Sprint Cup Series car on May 4, 2010. On May 7, he qualified the #46 into the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington. Yeley qualified for nine of the fourteen races he attempted. At the Coke Zero 400, he finished a team-best 19th. Yeley also raced for Latitude 43 Motorsports in Phoenix and Tommy Baldwin Racing, plus drove for Richard Petty Motorsports in a relief role at Charlotte, replacing a sick Kasey Kahne.

Yeley raced his way in the 2011 Daytona 500 in the Gatorade Duels for Whitney Motorsports, a team that failed to qualify for the 2010 event. He finished 43rd in the event after a blown engine eleven laps into the race. At Loudon, Yeley drove the #38 Front Row Motorsports entry in place of Travis Kvapil, who was unable to make the race due to his Truck Series commitments. He ran the remainder of the season in a fourth Front Row entry, the #55, with occasional races in the #38.

For 2012, Yeley signed with Robinson-Blakeney Racing to drive the No. 49 Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series.[4] He also drove the team's No. 28 Nationwide Series car in that series' season-opening race at Daytona.[5] Halfway through the season, Yeley moved to Max Q Motorsports to drive the No. 37 in a partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing.[6] Both the No. 49 and the No. 37 were mostly start and park efforts.

In 2013, Yeley moved to Tommy Baldwin Racing to drive the No. 36 Chevrolet, with sponsorship from Golden Corral at races on superspeedways.[7] United Mining, Accell Construction, and several other companies also served as primary sponsor throughout the season. Yeley finished 10th in his TBR debut in the Daytona 500, his first top ten since 2008.[8] Yeley ran his first full season (in a non-start and park ride) for the first time since 2008, and finished 32nd in points. He was replaced by Reed Sorenson for 2014. On February 13, it was announced that Yeley would drive the No. 44 with Xxxtreme Motorsport starting at Phoenix.[9] In late April, the team purchased the No. 30 team from Swan Racing, with Yeley shifting to drive the new car number.[10] Yeley replaced Ryan Truex in the No. 83 BK Racing Toyota at the Pure Michigan 400 after Truex suffered a concussion during a practice session.[11] He later drove the team's start and park No. 93 at Richmond, and ran the last seven races in the 83 following Truex's dismissal from the team.

Motorsports career results

American open-wheel racing




(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series

Daytona 500 results
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
2006 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet 36 41
2007 12 12
2008 Hall of Fame Racing Toyota 37 25
2011 Whitney Motorsports Chevrolet 33 43
2012 Robinson-Blakeney Racing Toyota DNQ
2013 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 41 10
2015 BK Racing Toyota 25 40

Xfinity Series

Camping World Truck Series

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points
2 Yeley switched to Nationwide Series points before the race at California Speedway

International Race of Champions

(key) (Bold – Pole position. * – Most laps led.)


  1. J.J. Yeley Career Statistics
  2. Drinkthis
  3. Announced as interim driver for Mayfield Motorsports
  4. "Yeley to drive for new Cup team". Turner Sports. January 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  5. Rodman, Dave (February 11, 2012). "Yeley to give Robinson last Nationwide hurrah?". Turner Sports. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  6. "Baldwin, Gunselman Form Alliance". National Speed Sport News. July 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  7. "Golden Corral Renews its Partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2013". Tommy Baldwin Racing. January 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  8. Wackerlin, Jeff (February 25, 2013). "McDowell, Yeley Shine at Daytona". Motor Racing Network. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  9. Spencer, Lee (February 13, 2014). "Yeley to drive Xxxtreme Motorsports Chevrolet beginning at Phoenix". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  10. Caraviello, David (April 23, 2014). "Swan Breakup Leaves Kligerman Without Ride". Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  11. Estrada, Chris (August 16, 2014). "NASCAR: J.J. Yeley to replace Ryan Truex in No. 83 tomorrow at Michigan". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 

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