Yates Enthused by Good Test Results, Recent Success in Preparing for Lucas Oil Nationals BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 11, 2005 - Dogged determination, good race-day combinations and an aggressive starting-line approach have solidified Jim Yates' hold...
Yates Enthused by Good Test Results, Recent Success in Preparing for Lucas Oil Nationals
BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 11, 2005 - Dogged determination, good race-day combinations and an aggressive starting-line approach have solidified Jim Yates' hold on a top 10 position in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock standings.
He's 10th, in fact, as he prepares for Friday's opening qualifying rounds of the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. His 701-point total puts him five rounds ahead of No. 11 and, more importantly, a mere 54 points out of sixth place.
He arrived in this resort area northwest of Minneapolis very encouraged by a two-day test session at St. Louis.
"I'm excited about race in Brainerd this weekend. We ran really well testing and Steve Schmidt is working hard on our engine," said Yates, driver of the B&W/Wiley-X Eyewear Pontiac. "Steve found more horsepower in a different power band than what we're used to, so we adapted our car to run where the motor runs. We ran faster than our baseline times and we haven't done that in a long time."
Yates is coming off one of his best western swings (races at Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.) in several seasons. He and Jamie Yates, his son and crew chief, were able to adapt to different conditions at each stop. Jim also did a masterful job of driving, notching first-round wins with better reaction times. He advanced to the semifinals at Denver and the quarterfinals at Seattle and Sonoma.
"It's going to be a lot cooler in Brainerd than it was in St. Louis, so we'll have to adapt to those conditions," said the Occoquan, Va.-based driver. "Being as close as we are to sixth place is very encouraging for us. If we do our job on Sunday we could close the gap even more. I think finishing sixth is a realistic goal for us. It's also been important that the driver has been doing well of late. That has helped us tremendously."
The expected cooler weather "should make it a pretty fast race track," this weekend, added Yates. "I think the fans will see track records."
He'll have four qualifying opportunities, two Friday and two Saturday, before Sunday's eliminations, when his bid to climb higher in points begins.