NASCAR Hall of Fame Owner Robert Yates Has Died
Robert Yates, a longtime NASCAR team owner and engine builder, lost his battle with liver cancer Monday night after months of immunotherapy. The 74-year old son of a Baptist minister is probably best known as the guy who was always looking for a competitive advantage. Having won the NASCAR Cup Championship as a car owner in 1999, Yates was probably stock car racing's most elite engine builder and co-founder of Roush Yates Engines. From 1983 to present, Yates engines rolled into the winner's circle 134 times.
A pioneer in the sport, Yates began his NASCAR career working for the legendary team at Holman Moody Racing. In 1988, he invested everything to purchase Rainer-Lundy Racing and put a budding young star, Davey Allison, behind the wheel. Allison drove the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford to his first of fifteen wins in 1989 at the Talladega 500. After Allison's tragic helicopter crash in 1993 at the speedway, Yates teamed with fellow Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett for 29 Cup victories including two Daytona 500 wins (Yates had three as an engine builder) and two Brickyard 400 wins. In 1999, Robert Yates Racing won the NASCAR Cup Championship.
Selected in May as part of the upcoming NASCAR Hall of Fame class, Yates had built winning engines for some of the sport's greatest drivers, including Hall of Fame members Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Dale Jarret. Prior to his selection to the Hall of Fame, Yates received the Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000 and the Buddy Shuman Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007. His legacy will live on through his son Doug Yates and Roush Yates Engines that currently provides the power plants for all Ford-backed teams in NASCAR.
Godspeed to the master of his craft.