Jim Yates becomes full-time racer

Alexandria, Va. (Oct. 4, 2000) - For years Jim Yates has faced a bit of a dilemma when starting his occupation. Was it businessman/drag racer or the other way around? Now instead of juggling two full-time jobs, Yates will perform solo as a ...

Alexandria, Va. (Oct. 4, 2000) - For years Jim Yates has faced a bit of a dilemma when starting his occupation. Was it businessman/drag racer or the other way around? Now instead of juggling two full-time jobs, Yates will perform solo as a professional racer on the NHRA circuit without the added responsibility of running his own business.

After 23 years in the competitive auto parts business, Yates has called it quits in order to devote his full-time attention to racing. He sold his wholesale/retail auto parts conglomerate that served the Washington, DC metro area to General Parts Inc. - CARQUEST Auto Parts of Raleigh, N.C.

Yates credits his primary sponsor for enabling him to fulfill his lifelong dream. He will be displaying the SplitFire Spark Plugs and PEAK Antifreeze colors on his NHRA Pro Stock Pontiac for another three years. Yates and Jeff Stauffer, vice president of marketing for Old World Industries, parent company of SplitFire and PEAK, announced the sponsorship extension, which runs from 2001-03.

"With SplitFire and PEAK putting us on their program for another three years, we decided it was time to go racing full-time," Yates said. "Pro Stock has become one of the most competitive classes in professional racing and it is very difficult for us to attain our goal of winning our third NHRA Winston Championship while racing part-time. I am excited to be able to commit 100 percent of my efforts toward my racing program and get the SplitFire/PEAK racing team back to world championship level."

"We couldn't have a better group of people representing our company and our products than Jim Yates and his entire race team," Stauffer said. "Jim has worked hard to become a performance leader. We are definitely looking forward to the next three years."

Yates, a two time NHRA Winston Series Pro Stock champion (1996-97), has 22 national-event wins, ranking fifth in all-time NHRA Pro Stock victories. He began his NHRA career in 1990.

"The last 10 years have really been tough on Toni (Yates' wife) and me because we have been torn between the racecar and the parts business," Yates said. "It has been difficult because we love them both. The many uncertainties and decisions that had to be made obviously have taken it's toll on me during the last six months, but now that the die is cast, all I can say is, thanks to all of those who have helped us along the way and now, let's go racing!"

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