Reading: Jim Yates preview

Yates Hopes More Runs with New GTO Will Yield Round Wins More Laps Scheduled in Test Session before Race at Reading, Pa. Jim Yates returns to one of his favorite tracks this weekend when the NHRA POWERade Series makes its annual stop at Maple ...

Yates Hopes More Runs with New GTO Will Yield Round Wins
More Laps Scheduled in Test Session before Race at Reading, Pa.

Jim Yates returns to one of his favorite tracks this weekend when the NHRA POWERade Series makes its annual stop at Maple Grove Raceway for the Toyo Tires Nationals.

Nestled in the trees several miles from downtown Reading, Pa., Maple Grove is familiar to Yates because he began his drag racing career here long before he stepped into the Pro Stock ranks. Three of his 24 professional victories have come at the venerable track (2002, 1996-97).

In preparation for his upcoming visit, Yates planned to run his new Sea Ray Boats/Bayshore Power/ B&W/Wiley-X Eyewear Pontiac GTO through a rigorous test session Wednesday at Budds, Creek, Md. "We've only made 11 runs with the GTO so we need to put a lot more runs on it," Yates said.

Yates drove the car for the first time at the U.S. Nationals (Sept. 5) at Indianapolis, missing the starting line-up by one-thousandth of a second.

"We're excited to be able to work on the car and get it to go straight down the track," added the Occoquan, Va.-based driver. "We need to find out what it will do in every condition. Every chassis is different and we have to get used to this one and find out what it wants in different conditions.

"We felt the car ran well on its last lap at Indy. We were fifth or sixth-quickest for the session in the heat of the day."

But his fate had already been determined because hot weather and a slippery track contributed to slower times than those run during cooler evening sessions."We're going into different atmospheric conditions at Reading," said Yates. "Steve Schmidt, our engine builder, worked on our engine and said we should have the same kind of power we saw at Indy. The car was running extremely well by Sunday but the track didn't give us the elapsed time we wanted."

Another important matter on Yates' agenda is to pick up the pace and climb a few places in the series standings. He's currently 10th with 774 points and would like to step up another rung or two. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (841), Ron Krisher (872), and Richie Stevens (873) are the three drivers ahead of Yates.

This event begins another streak of three races on successive weekends. Other stops before a break will be at Dallas (Sept. 23-24) and Chicago (Sept. 30/Oct. 1-2). Only two events will remain thereafter -- at Las Vegas (Oct. 21-23) and Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 3-6).

-jyr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Ron Krisher , Steve Schmidt