Memorial Day weekend has been pretty good to J.J. Yeley over the years.
In 1998, at the age of 21, Yeley qualified for his first and only Indianapolis 500. He started 13th and finished ninth.
Last Memorial Day weekend, Yeley scored the best result of his Cup career when he finished second in the Coca-Cola 600.
"It's hard to believe it's been a decade since I ran the Indy 500," Yeley said. "It makes me feel old. (But) that experience, by itself, is something I'll never be able to match.
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"The fans really do make that race what it is. The parade laps and the prerace festivities, to me, are second to none. The sea of colors that you see when you take the green flag is something that captivated me more than anything else during the month of May."
But the former U.S. Auto Club short track star said the 600 last year was definitely a career highlight, too.
"It was one of those days that seemed like it was never going to end," Yeley said. "Four hundred laps at that race track is an eternity.
"My first Coke 600 as a rookie in 2006, I thought I was going to die after the race. I needed oxygen. I was dry heaving in between the trailers because I had gotten so hot. So I learned a lot and was better last year. The extra 100 miles makes a difference, even though it is a night race. I really learned a lot about patience.
"Fuel mileage always seems to be in play at that race. I think patience goes hand-in-hand with that. Last year, we were one of the few teams that made it all the way to the end. We've done some fuel-economy testing this year. For us, right now, the biggest challenge is making the race. I know we've got a car that is very fast on a very long run."