Yates' No. 28 team makes changes By Shawn A. Akers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 21, 1998) Robert Yates Racing got itself a new crew chief for its No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford, now it's branching out into a new facility.
The No. 28 Ford team, led by crew chief Doug Richert and driver Kenny Irwin, is in the process of moving from Yates' venue on Dwelle St. here to an existing 12,000-square-foot facility on Hudspeth Road near Charlotte Motor Speedway. The shop is owned by NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owner Butch Mock and was previously occupied by David Hodson's Impact Motorsports, which fielded Stacy Compton's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team in 1998 and has since expanded to a two-truck operation.
Impact Motorsports, which will run Dodges in 1999 for Compton and Randy Tolsma, has since moved into a facility just down the road, owned by Andy Hillenburg and formerly occupied by the No. 29 Diamond Ridge Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team.
Doug Yates, the son of team owner Robert Yates who is also in charge of the team's engine department, said the move of the team was prompted by a desire to ease logistics. The hope is it will give both the No. 28 team and the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford team, with driver Dale Jarrett, a lot more space to operate.
"After the year was over, we sat down and evaluated how things were going with each of the teams, and we thought it would be in both teams' interest to separate them and give them some breathing room," he said. "They'll be working together, but they'll have the room to do their own thing. People have different opinions, crew chiefs have different opinions about how they want things done, and this gives each team the freedom for that.
"As we all know, races aren't won and lost by race shops. It's people that make things happen. It's putting those people in the right places. We know we've got that now. What we're trying to accomplish is to win a championship with Dale Jarrett, and we're doing the things to put that in place. We're also working on the growth of Kenny, and the best thing we thought we could do would be to separate the teams."
Doug Yates said the No. 28 team is about "75 percent moved over" to its new home. The car fabrication will still be done at the old shop, but assembly will be done on Hudspeth Road. The No. 28 shop will be upgraded a bit, with the addition of a spray paint booth as well as other small adjustments.
Richert, who was hired earlier this month to lead the team, makes the move over from the No. 91 LJ Racing team, owned by Joe Falk. What's more important, however, Yates said, is the fact that Irwin and Richert have worked together previously.
Richert was the crew chief for Irwin's team when Irwin won two races and Cintas Rookie of the Year honors in 1997 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"Good crew chiefs are few and far between, and we think Doug is the most underrated crew chief in the business," Yates said. "He and Kenny already have a background and relationship, and that's very positive for us and the 28 team. They just work really well together, and both have confidence in each other.
"(Former crew chief) Slugger Labbe did a great job for us, but it's tough when you've got multi-million-dollar sponsors who want answers, and we wanted answers, too. Doug is a veteran and has got lots of racing experience. People don't pay much attention to the great job he did with the 91 team last year with the limited budget that team had.
"We accomplished our goal winning Rookie of the Year last year, but didn't exceed our goal at all. We're certainly looking for bigger and better things from Doug, Kenny and the 28 team in 1999."
Source: NASCAR Online