2008 NASCAR Fantasy Draft Kit: JJ Yeley

An in-depth look at JJ Yeley and how he might work on your fantasy NASCAR team for 2008.

jj yeley

Quick, what’s the first word that comes to mind when JJ Yeley is mentioned? Crash? Wreck? Wadded sheetmetal? Maybe DNF? It’s an easy word association based on his Busch record and Cup starts entering 2007. But perception does not always match reality, and in 2007 Yeley went a long way towards erasing that image. His basic numbers didn’t change that much (1 top 5, 3 top 10’s compared to 0, 3 in 2006) but his point position improved dramatically from 29th to 21st. The biggest reason? His crash numbers went way down, which meant he was running for positions at the end of races instead of turning laps in a dented ride.

Life at Joe Gibbs Racing

Despite the noted improvement, Yeley’s future with Gibbs was set to expire. Maybe the first sign was the fact that Yeley had to find a different owner in order to race in the Busch Series. Later in the season rumors popped up about Yeley not having his contract renewed. Things didn’t help when Dale Earnhardt Jr was shopping his services to teams including Gibbs.

The rumors eventually became truth and after two seasons in the #18 with Joe Gibbs Racing, Yeley was replaced with Kyle Busch. From a competition standpoint it’s hard to blame Gibbs for the switch, because it’s clearly an upgrade. Yeley quickly found a ride with Gibbs’ satellite team Hall of Fame Racing in favor of outgoing driver Tony Raines. Like Busch hopping in the #18 car, Yeley is an upgrade over Raines in the #96 car.

For Yeley’s part, he was never going to get more attention than Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin and probably didn’t get the full chance to prove himself in the #18. Now he will get similar equipment, but probably more exclusive attention from the team.

Life after Joe Gibbs Racing

Hall of Fame Racing (HoF Racing) has access to a lot of tools that other small teams typically don’t. First their alignment with Gibbs’ vast resources and data is a huge step up. They also get technical support from the parent company, which is a huge benefit towards the CoT.

The other big factor will come from Hall of Fame’s switch to Toyota. The Camry promises great horsepower, deep pockets from Toyota and the motivation to improve on last year’s embarrassing debut. It’s a pretty compelling argument for Yeley and HoF Racing to better their 2007 numbers.

It’s a critical season for HoF Racing, and as a result Yeley might have additional pressure to perform. Their primary sponsor Texas Instruments DLP is one of the highest profile sponsors in NASCAR. After two honeymoon seasons, DLP might demand to see some real return on their investment. That poses a few questions to Jeff Moorad, Tom Garfinkel, and Tom Davin the new principal owners of HoF. How much time does Yeley get to adjust to the new team? Will they again opt for a road course ringer like Ron Fellows to ensure top results? Do they have plans to expand to a second car to leverage more testing and information gathering?

JJ Yeley’s strong tracks for 2008

Yeley has the chance to bring HoF to a new level. If he can take advantage of the support from Toyota and Gibbs, bettering his 1 top 5 and 3 top 10’s is certain. Yeley’s greatest strength is at tracks like Loudon, Richmond and his and the team’s home track Phoenix. This type of track requires fine car control, exactly the kind Yeley developed in his USAC and IRL days. With the strong competition for top 20 spots, repeating his 21st points position is really the most the team can hope for. Even that would mark a four spot jump for HoF over last year’s 25th owners points result. Yeley has a lot of tools at his disposal, the question is how will he use them?

See our complete JJ Yeley NASCAR Statistics.

JJ Yeley 2007 NASCAR Season Statistics
Race Start Finish Pts Laps Status Winnings
Daytona 500 12th 12th 127 202/202 Running $308,541
Auto Club 500 29th 13th 124 250/250 Running $124,958
UAW-Diamler Chrysler 400 24th 18th 114 266/267 Running $123,183
Kobalt Tools 500 20th 22nd 97 324/325 Running $100,233
Food City 500 37th 36th 60 475/504 Running $107,833
Goody’s Cool Orange 500 5th 23rd 94 499/500 Running $100,958
Samsung 500 18th 43rd 34 1/334 Out of Race $108,898
Subway Fresh Fit 500 22nd 21st 100 311/312 Running $97,883
Aaron’s 499 31st 19th 106 192/192 Running $116,033
Crown Royal 400 23rd 14th 121 400/400 Running $101,008
Dodge Avenger 500 22nd 18th 109 367/367 Running $108,183
Coca-Cola 600 12th 2nd 175 400/400 Running $264,733
Autism Speaks 400 32nd 37th 52 370/400 Running $102,613
Pocono 500 11th 17th 112 106/106 Running $97,358
Citizens Bank 400 1st 28th 79 198/200 Running $107,958
Toyota / Save Mart 350 33rd 21st 100 110/110 Running $107,483
Lenox Industrial Tools 300 19th 22nd 97 300/300 Running $103,583
Pepsi 400 17th 20th 103 160/200 Running $123,658
USG Sheetrock 400 36th 35th 58 243/267 Running $107,258
Allstate 400 23rd 36th 55 120/160 Off Track $165,958
Pennsylvania 500 27th 35th 58 197/200 Running $90,033
Centurion Boats at the Glen 21st 18th 109 90/90 Running $94,083
3M Peformance 400 31st 25th 88 202/200 Running $103,333
Sharpie 500 40th 13th 124 500/500 Running $131,758
Sharp AQUOS 500 23rd 29th 76 248/250 Running $117,308
Chevy Rock-n-Roll 400 36th 10th 134 400/400 Running $111,158
Sylvania 300 21st 10th 134 300/300 Running $116,508
Dodge Dealers 400 32nd 33rd 64 383/400 Off Track $95,033
LifeLock 400 31st 14th 121 209/210 Running $121,283
UAW-Ford 500 17th 18th 109 188/188 Running $105,658
Bank of America 500 39th 13th 124 337/400 Running $104,233
Subway 500 8th 42nd 37 258/506 Out of Race $87,713
Pep Boys Auto 500 22nd 35th 58 275/325 Running $111,008
Dickies 500 38th 17th 112 333/334 Running $131,133
Checker Auto Parts 500 4th 14th 121 312/312 Running $100,183
Ford 400 24th 31st 70 263/267 Running $93,833