Means Racing to field JJ Yeley, Kody Vanderwal

by Justin Nguyen

For the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Means Racing will field the #52 for a series veteran and a series newcomer. On Thursday, the team confirmed a report from Frontstretch.com’s Dustin Albino that J.J. Yeley will pilot the car for the first three races before Kody Vanderwal takes over for the rest of the year starting at Phoenix Raceway.

“@jjyeley1 will pilot our No. 52 @chevrolet for the first 3 @NASCAR_Xfinity races of 2020 season,” the team tweeted as a quote retweet to Albino. “@KodyVanderwal will take over the driving duties full time for JMR @phoenixraceway.

“See you all at the race track in 2020.”

A longtime driver in NASCAR’s national series, Yeley has competed at the Xfinity level since 2004. In 329 career races, he has forty-six top-ten finishes, including two runner-up placements. In 2019, Yeley recorded fourteen Xfinity starts, including competing at the Gander Trucks level in one race.

He is scheduled to run the full 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season with Rick Ware Racing, his first full-time Cup campaign since 2015. For the Daytona 500, he is in the #54 car as he vies for his first appearance in the race since that season.

Yeley will drive the #52 at Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Auto Club Speedway. He finished sixteenth in his last Xfinity start at Daytona in 2018, while his twelfth in the Cup summer race in 2019 was his best that year.

Phoenix will be Vanderwal’s Xfinity Series début. Since 2017, he has raced in the now-ARCA Menards Series West for Patriot Motorsports Group and Levin Racing, where he recorded two race wins in 2018 en route to a seventh-place points finish. In thirty-five career West Series races, he has eighteen top tens, eight top fives, a pole, and two victories.

Vanderwal also ran three races in the East Series in 2018 with PMG.

“The cat is finally out of the bag,” Vanderwal tweeted.

The pair replaces David Starr in the #52. Starr, who finished twenty-second in the 2019 Xfinity standings, moves to JD Motorsports‘ #6 car for 2020.

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