Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 will see the debut of a new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team, though it will feature an owner and driver with experience in NASCAR’s premier series. On Monday, NY Racing Team announced it would enter the 600 with J.J. Yeley in the #7 Chevrolet.
Team owner John Cohen previously operated Team Xtreme Racing. The operation first raced in the Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) in 2009 as Xxxtreme Motorsport, fielding the #58 for Mike Harmon and Josh Wise in a limited schedule. In 2012, Xxxtreme ran the #44 in the Cup Series for David Reutimann, followed by an attempted full-time 2013 campaign with Scott Riggs. However, the team ended up running part-time due to sponsorship; Riggs failed to qualify for three races, while his best finish was forty-first twice.
Yeley joined the team for ten races in 2014, recording a best finish of thirty-fourth at Sonoma Raceway. At the spring Richmond Raceway event, the team purchased the shuttered Swan Racing‘s owner points and fielded the #30 for Yeley. During the year, Xxxtreme was renamed to Team Xtreme Racing, with Timmy Hill driving the #44 at Dover International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.
Reed Sorenson took over the ride for the 2015 Daytona 500, in which he finish thirty-second and scored the team’s first lead-lap finish. Travis Kvapil was scheduled to race the #44 in later races during the 2015 season, but such plans fell apart during a series of bizarre events leading into the second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Before the weekend, the team’s truck and trailer, car, and other equipment were stolen from a hotel parking lot. Although the truck and car were recovered and the culprit subsequently pleaded guilty, the team and Cohen were marred by further legal and financial troubles. Despite initial plans to return at the Texas Motor Speedway race, Team Xtreme has not competed since.
In early 2016, Team Xtreme’s social media rebranded to become the NY Racing Team. Over two years later, the team will finally appear in a Cup race.
Yeley currently races for RSS Racing in the Xfinity Series, bouncing between the team’s #38, #39, and #93 cars. After ten races, he sits twenty-fourth in the points standings with a best finish of eleventh at Talladega Superspeedway. He joined RSS after a two-year stint with TriStar Motorsports. In 259 career Cup races, Yeley has two top fives, eight top tens, and a pole. His best finish is second at the 2007 Coca-Cola 600.
With Yeley’s addition, the Coca-Cola 600 entry list now sits at forty-one cars. Should there be no further changes, there will be one driver who fails to qualify for the race; it would be the first DNQ of the 2018 season.