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Random Race Recap: JJ Yeley at Kansas Speedway

Drivers used every inch of real estate on restarts at Kansas Speedway Thursday night. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

For the Kansas Speedway edition of Random Race Recap, the wheel chose JJ Yeley. Yeley piloted the No. 27 Ford for Rick Ware Racing for the Super Start Batteries 400. 


I was able to pick Yeley’s brain on the goals his team had in place for the evening. Noting that objectives vary from one end of the garage to the other, he shared, “My personal goal is always to maximize my team’s opportunity at a top 25 and not make any mistakes that can take away from the finish we are capable of achieving.” 

While the 16-year Cup Series veteran has 15 starts at the 1.5-mile track, feelings regarding the lack of practice vary between drivers. When asked how he prepared for the race, Yeley stated, “I am fortunate to have a crew chief that has decades of experience. I have absolute confidence in my team and the setup we take to the track weekly. I do have the peace of mind that we will get a competition caution around lap 20-25.”

JJ Yeley pilots his No. 27 Rick Ware Racing machine on a unique Thursday night race. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Stage 1:

With that in mind, Yeley rolled off P28 for the 267 lap race. As Yeley radioed in about hitting the splitter, he fell back to P32. He held this position as drivers stretched the field to a single file line.

Under the lap 25 competition caution, he was dubbed the lucky dog and earned back the lap he lost just prior to the yellow. Yeley came to his crew for fresh tires and adjustments. 

The field again quickly stretched out and Yeley held his ground in P32, noticeably happier with the adjustments. He radioed his crew chief, Mike Hillman, to say, “Good adjustments there boss!” 

When Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. had to call it quits early with a mechanical failure, Yeley claimed a spot to finish the opening stage P31. 


Stage 2:

During the stage break, Hillman said they would take a “big swing” in terms of adjustments. After a pit stop, Yeley would line up P31. Although he was down two laps, he was “on a lap of their own” for the second stage. 

As with the first stage, the field quickly got strung out with minimal passing opportunities. 

Two cautions allowed Yeley and his team to assess the handling and make minor adjustments. Yeley avoided the incidents and finished the stage P31.


Stage 3: 

Yeley began the final stage in P30. While he was down two laps, he was, fortunately, the first car any laps down.  An early caution allowed him to gain back a lap, but also move up a few positions as numerous drivers had their nights end early.

Yeley would restart P26, down a lap on lap 181. Immediately the caution flew again for a harrowing wreck that sent Ryan Preece airborne. After seeing that everyone involved was okay, his spotter confirmed Yeley was back on the lead lap.

He brought his car to his team after a brief red flag delay and restarted P22 with 81 laps remaining. Seven laps later, yet another caution came as Ryan Newman was slow on the apron.

Yeley sat P19 with 68 laps remaining after a quick trip down pit road. With the green flag, drivers took their machines three-wide and Yeley fell to P22. He was scored the last car on the lead lap. 

Yeley held his ground as the field got back into a steady rhythm with the laps ticking by. He finished his day P22, fulfilling the team goal of a top 25.  

JJ Yeley exits his car after a caution-filled final stage. (Photo Credit: Rick Ware Racing social media)

Until his next recap, you can follow Yeley on Twitter, along with Rick Ware Racing. Enjoy the off-weekend for the Cup Series, and we will see you back here for the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Random Race Recap!

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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