Denver: Jim Yates preview

Jim Yates Optimistic Going into Mile-High Nationals MORRISON, Colo. - The 26th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway presents a much different challenge to NHRA competitors than they see at any other facility on the 23-race ...

Jim Yates Optimistic Going into Mile-High Nationals

MORRISON, Colo. - The 26th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway presents a much different challenge to NHRA competitors than they see at any other facility on the 23-race series.

True to its name, the Mile-High event is just that. The air lacks the oxygen found at sea level, making it difficult to breathe, for contestants and their racing engines.

"We must make changes to the car to adapt to those unique conditions we see only in the Denver area," said Jim Yates, driver of the B&W Trailer Hitches/Wiley-X Eyewear Pontiac. "We tested at Bandimere for three days recently and it went really well. We ran three different engines and made many gear and clutch changes. We definitely tried a lot of different combinations."

"You develop a lot of data coming here year after year, but each year you need to tweak the tune-up for gains that have been made in the power curve."

This event not only launches the final 11 races in the 2005 POWERade Series, it is the first of three successive events in the annual Western Swing. The tour goes from above 5,280 feet to sea level at Seattle (July 24) to Sonoma, Calif. (July 31).

"You need to have all your equipment in tip-top shape going into the three-race swing," added Yates. "We've fixed the clutches and rear ends and worked on everything. We haven't raced since June 26, but we haven't been on vacation."

Yates has two career victories (1996-97, the same years he won season championships) in three final rounds at Bandimere.

"We want to make this three-race swing productive," Yates said. "We feel we should be able to move up in the top 10. We are optimistic. We think we could win at least one of the next three races."

-JLS-

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Series NHRA