Jim Yates closing in on championship

Oct. 13, 1997 Contact: David Ferroni DMF Communications 612-593-1505 Yates Closing In On Second Series Championship Pro Stock driver two rounds away from clinching title ...

Oct. 13, 1997 Contact: David Ferroni DMF Communications 612-593-1505

Yates Closing In On Second Series Championship

Pro Stock driver two rounds away from clinching title

How impressive has the 1997 season been for Jim Yates? For starters, the McDonald's Pontiac Pro Stock driver is in position to clinch his second straight NHRA Winston series championship at the upcoming Revell Nationals, Oct. 17-19, at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas. However, the championship chase only tells part of Yates' success story. With three races remaining, the facts prove that he has been the dominating force this season on the NHRA circuit. Of the three professional NHRA car classes -- Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock -- Yates is the statistical leader in the following categories: driver points (1,753), wins (8), final rounds (11) and elimination round wins (53). He also leads the Pro Stock category with eight No. 1 qualifying spots. Yates, who has been red-hot lately, winning the last three races and reaching the final round in eight of the last nine races, said the team's focus is on winning the championship, not on statistics. "This team has been so focused all year on winning the championship that we really haven't had time to reflect on our accomplishments," said Yates, who has 18 career victories. "We'll do that during the off-season, in between test sessions." When the McDonald's team pulls into the expansive Texas Motorplex for this weekend's race, it will be a feeling of deja vu for Yates and his team members. It was at the Motorplex last year that Yates clinched his first NHRA Winston Pro Stock series championship. There are a number of scenarios on how Yates can clinch the title again at the Motorplex, but to keep it simple, and for Yates to do it on his own, he needs to qualify and win the first two rounds of eliminations on Sunday. He enters the Revell Nationals with a commanding 347-point lead over Warren Johnson. "We will not go into a defensive shell to protect our lead," said Yates, the 44 year-old driver from Alexandria, Va. "Our goal is to continue to be aggressive, win the last three races and wrap up this championship. It's been a great year so far and I'm very proud of every member of our team for the work ethic and commitment they have given throughout the season."

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