JJ Yeley has been a driver who has — fairly or unfairly — been labeled a bust by many for his lackluster results in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series over the years. However, what he has done for the upstart Rick Ware Racing team in 2019 is pretty remarkable.
Yeley has been smooth and consistent and despite having equipment that has been far off the pace. He’s done a great job of staying out of the way of faster cars and managing to manufacture ways to land decent results for the team.
Despite his window net coming unlatched during qualifying, which forced him to start in the rear of the grid this weekend, Yeley — who hails from Phoenix, Arizona — scored his fourth-consecutive top-30 finish, as he came home 29th.
Sure, a top-30 doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for a little team trying to make headway in the sport like Rick Ware’s operation, a top-30 is a big deal.
In fact, Yeley was the highest finishing of three Rick Ware Racing cars this weekend. Yeley also finished ahead of some notable teams including Chase Elliott in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 car (crashed in the final Stage of the race), two of the three Front Row Motorsports cars and Go Fas Racing’s No. 32 car driven by Corey LaJoie.
Those three cars finishing behind the No. 53 team under any circumstances is a huge deal. Following the race, Yeley Tweeted that his run accomplished the mission for RWR on the day.
— JJ Yeley (@jjyeley1) November 10, 2019
Overall, Yeley has now scored eight top-30 finishes in 14 tries for the team in 2019 and he even tied the organization’s best-ever finish earlier in the year when he recorded a 12th-place finish in the July race at Daytona.
Yeley has the best average finish (29.2) of any of the nine RWR drivers who have competed in more than one race this season.
Even more important, aside from a fuel pump issue at Sonoma, which ended his day just past the halfway point, Yeley has been running at the finish of all of his starts for the team.
He’s taking care of the equipment. He’s getting above average results compared to his teammates. This could be the best job Yeley has done for an organization at the Cup Series level throughout his entire career.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.