J.J. Yeley started from the pole and led every lap on his path to victory in Thurday night’s Chili Bowl Nationals opening qualifier heat race. Yeley got a great initial start, but would have to endure a restart after a caution with three laps to go.
Yeley, a long-time dirt racing competitor and NASCAR Xfinity Series racer, was able to keep his cool and snagged the win over Matt Sherrell.
For Yeley, he was just happy his car had great power all race, as he had issues with his engine in hot laps earlier in the evening.
“We drew the pole there for the heat race, knew the race track was going to be hammer down. Was really, really worried,” Yeley explained. “In hot laps, the motor wouldn’t run at all. Changed batteries. All of the guysSR11 and Stanton came over and got the engine tuned up. Just happy to get a win out of that thing.”
Now that Yeley, 45, has the rust knocked off, he is ready to roll the rest of the way in the 2022 Chili Bowl Nationals.
“It was fast, it was fun,” Yeley said. “Get the cobwebs knocked off. It’s been a while.
Damion Gardner’s car lost power with three laps to go, while he was running inside the top-three. This is what brought out the only caution in the first heat race of the night.