Blog Entry

J.J. Yeley and Martin Truex Jr.

Posted on: August 7, 2008 11:42 am

Those who managed to pry themselves away from the Brett Favre coverage for a minute, might have noticed a few NASCAR Silly Season hit the wires late Wednesday.

Martin Truex Jr. will remain with DEI in 2009. I never really expected Truex to move. Unless he just absolutely despised the upper management, it didn't make sense. This isn't some underfunded organization trying to stay afloat. This is an organization with some cache that wants Truex as its centerpiece. He's solidly in the top 35. If he jumped to another team, there's a good chance he'd lose the security of being locked into the first five events of the season. 

And then there's J.J. Yeley, who was released from his ride with Hall of Fame Racing.

Some guys, no matter how successful they may have been at lower levels of racing, just aren't quite cut out for racing at the Cup level. And in the case of Yeley, that's a shame, because he's the kind of guy you'd like to see succeed.

But it was clear fairly early that it probably wasn't going to work out. In 2005, when Gibbs began to test out who would replace Bobby Labonte, Yeley didn't exactly take advantate of his opportunity, finishing no better than 25th in four races and never finishing on the lead lap.

When given the same opportunity in the same car, Denny Hamlin's star skyrocketed. He took the opportunity and ran with it, snagging three top 10s in his first five races in the car. 

That should have really been all Gibbs needed to know, but Yeley lucked out when Gibbs opted to expand to three teams, giving a ride to both Hamlin and Yeley at the urging of Tony Stewart, who owned all or part of the three different cars Yeley drove during his USAC championship days.

Yeley's first full season in the car continued to show the huge divide between him and his fellow rookie teammate. While Hamlin racked up two wins and 20 top 10s and finished the season ranked third in the standings, Yeley finished 29th in the standings with just 3 tops 10s.

I don't know if another Cup team will be willing to recycle him in 2009. If Newman isn't already locked into the second Stewart-Haas ride, would Stewart be willing to give his former protege a shot?

Rather than another Cup ride somewhere, I'd like to see what Yeley could do with a prominent Nationwide team first. Is IndyCar an option? I wish him the best because I think he could be a fan favorite with a little bit more success.


Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2008 12:57 pm

J.J. Yeley and Martin Truex Jr.

Brian, I agree with you on Truex's position.  Even if he had gone to the 33 at RCR he would have faced the go or go home situtation at least for the first 5 weeks and with Daytona being a crap shoot he could have missed out on the race all together.  Also, with RCR and DEI having merged engine programs there wouldn't really be that much of a difference.  Therefore, staying at DEI and becoming the face of the organization makes more sense.  Don't be surprised to see him sign a longer term contract in the winter. 

As for JJ, I think Joe rushed him into the cup series.  Driving open wheel cars and stock cars are totally different as we are finding out with IRL Champions in the cup series this year.  Even Tony spent a season driving the "Busch" series before being promoted to the cup series.  Trying to learn these cars and tracks while in the toughest series takes time and you can't learn when each and every week people are expecting more than your ready to deliver. (I wish Michael Waltrip would put McDowell in the Nationwide series for a year then bring him back to cup for this very reason).

What we are seeing with JJ is the same thing we saw with Casey Attwood,  Rushed into the series before they were ready.  Denny was able to overcome because he drove stock cars and it was a much easier adjustment.  Would I put JJ in Denny's class, not yet, but if a team took a chance and put JJ in the Nationwide series or the Truck series for a year then brought him back to cup I think he would be a lot more competitive and successful.

Sponsors want young drivers but they can't wait for a driver to develop in a lower series and then gripe and want to jump ship when that driver struggles.  I'd Be willing to say that Joe Gibbs would say his rushing JJ into the Cup series was as much to blame for JJ's failure as anything else.  I bet Joe is going to be real careful with Joey before putting him in the 20, but then again Joey's been driving Stock Cars, not Open Wheel Cars.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: August 8, 2008 11:44 am

J.J. Yeley and Martin Truex Jr.

  Well , Truex  sign  a  contract  that  gave  the  owner  for  one  extra  year . With  that  said , I  think  that  Truex  wanted  out . From  the  motor  issues ,  and  the  CC'S   at  TEI . where  he  was  in  the  hunt  of   top 12 , but , the   people  at  TEI , either  can't   read ,  or , had  the   wrong  templet .  Now , Truex  is  out  of  the  playoff's , with  4  races  left , and   over   200  points  of  12  place , it's  not  hard . There  were  about , 3  months  ago , Truex   said  that   if  TEI  didn't   fix  the  motor  issues , he was   thinking  about  leaving . Now , about   3  weeks   ago ,  the   people  at  TEI  , made   the   biggest   mistake  , so  far  this  season , and  Truex  is  out   of  the  playoff . Now , he  have  to  put  it  up  with   them   for  one  more  year . I  don't  think  that  he   is  doing  to  sign  with  them  , again . TEI  is not   underfunded ,  but , they  lost  2  big, drivers  in  2  years , and  sponors  are  leaving  too . I  wonder   why ?

; For  Yeley , well , what  can  be  said . He  hadn't   lived  up  to  the  standards that  he  put   out . I  think  that  he  was   out -classes when  he  came  to  the   Spint Cup  series . Maybe  if  he  goes  to  the  Nationwide series , he  might  find  he's  groove , but , if  NASCAR   can   get  the  car   of   yesterday ,  and   running   in  that  series . They  keep  changes  the  date ,  maybe  next  year .... or , the  year  another  that  one .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or