FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 YATES STAYS ON TOP IN PRO STOCK DESPITE CHANGES TO TEAM DINWIDDIE, Va. -- When noted crew chief and engine builder Richard Maskin left Jim Yates' Pro Stock team in...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761
YATES STAYS ON TOP IN PRO STOCK DESPITE CHANGES TO TEAM
DINWIDDIE, Va. -- When noted crew chief and engine builder Richard Maskin left Jim Yates' Pro Stock team in late February, many NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series observers figured that Yates would tumble in the point standings. They figured wrong. Yates, from Alexandria, Va., has climbed from second to first since Maskin left, passing Warren Johnson for the Winston points lead in the McDonald's Pontiac Firebird. "I think we've got a strong team," Yates said. "I'm not taking anything away from Richard, but I want our guys to get credit. Our guys are getting the job done as well as we've ever gotten it done." Indeed. Defending NHRA Winston champion Yates has won three national events this season, two without Maskin, and is a favorite for victory at the third annual, $1,488,750 Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto, April 24-27 at Virginia Motorsports Park. The race is the sixth event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. When Maskin left, Yates wasted no time assembling a competent brain trust. Yates' chassis builder Jerry Bickel and longtime crew member Rich Purdy became co-crew chiefs, and Bob Ingles became engine builder. That tuning trio produced immediately. Yates won the Mac Tools Gatornationals in early March, the first race after Maskin's departure, and the Fram Nationals two weeks ago at Atlanta. "By losing Richard, from what that hurt us, we have more than made that up by working really hard in all areas to pick up the slack," Yates said. "There's a lot of good team spirit now, and that's critical. We're just going to keep on going the way we always have."
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