Nextel Cup driver J.J. Yeley officially cast his hat in the free agent ring on Friday, admitting he will not return to Joe Gibbs Racing next season.
On Monday, the Observer reported Kyle Busch had signed a letter of intent to drive for Yeley’s Cup team next season. Yeley's contract with JGR expires at the end of this season and will not be renewed.
“I don’t have a date set on when I’m going to announce what I’m doing, but I have talked to several other teams and I can assure you the teams I’m talking to are top-quality teams that want to make me a championship driver,” Yeley said.
Yeley said the Wood Brothers and Dale Earnhardt Inc. were among the teams he had talked to in recent weeks. He would not confirm it was Busch who was replacing him at JGR.
Asked why the situation with JGR didn’t work out, Yeley replied, “If I knew that I could buy a lottery ticket and be a rich man. It’s difficult to say. Obviously, there is excellent equipment here. Our teammates do good. Our problem was we were too inconsistent.”
All 63 Cup starts in Yeley’s career have come with JGR. He has one career top-five and four top-10 finishes and has not won a race. His best finish was second this season at Charlotte and his first pole came this season at Michigan.
“Wherever I go they are going to make sure we do what it takes to win races,” Yeley said. “For the most part this takes a lot off my shoulders and this team’s shoulders.
“Now I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen, I can just go out there, drive the race car. My goals aren’t going to change because of what my future holds for next year.”