Yates Racing reports interest in filling vacancy with Yeley

Updated: August 30, 2007, 12:03 PM ET
By Angelique S. Chengelis | ESPN.com

J.J. Yeley, Nextel Cup's latest free agent, has said he is in conversation with four teams, which he would not disclose, but Robert Yates Racing president Doug Yates is happy to report his team is extremely interested in hiring Yeley.

Yeley will not return to Joe Gibbs Racing after this season. Kyle Busch will drive the No. 18 that Yeley, in his final year of a contract, is vacating.

RYR will have a vacancy now that veteran Ricky Rudd has announced he is retiring from full-time Cup racing after this season. David Gilliland also drives for RYR.

"We're very interested in J.J.," Yates said Wednesday. "He'd be good for our company. He's very marketable, and he's a pretty good driver. We're talking to him. We are definitely interested."

Yates said there is no timetable to get a deal done. He said he is convinced that with the right team chemistry, Yeley can succeed. Yeley currently is 20th in points, while his JGR teammates, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin, are firmly in the Chase.

"How can you say a guy two years into the sport is not making the cut?" Yates said. "He needs to be with a team that believes in him."

A phone call to Yeley's business manager, Kyle Chapman, was not immediately returned.

Angelique S. Chengelis is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.

Angelique S. Chengelis is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.