Seattle: Jim Yates preview

Jim Yates, Team Prepared for Sea Level Start at Seattle SEATTLE - What a difference a mile makes, especially when it's vertical instead of horizontal. Jim Yates and his B&W/Wiley-X Eyewear Pontiac Pro Stock team spent last weekend competing...

Jim Yates, Team Prepared for Sea Level Start at Seattle

SEATTLE - What a difference a mile makes, especially when it's vertical instead of horizontal.

Jim Yates and his B&W/Wiley-X Eyewear Pontiac Pro Stock team spent last weekend competing in Denver, which is nicknamed the Mile-High City for obvious reasons.

They'll be at Pacific Raceways in nearby Kent, Wash., this Friday through Sunday for the 18th annual CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals. The track, located less than an hour's drive south of downtown Seattle, is about 5200 feet lower than Bandimere Speedway, site of Sunday's NHRA POWERade Series event.

Preparing for this race requires more work than usual, says Yates, because it takes time to undo the changes that were made for the high-altitude tune-up required in Denver. It is a labor of love, because Yates loves to go fast, and that's virtually impossible at Bandimere Speedway.

"We had to change the 4-link, clutch, rear-end ratios, carburetor jets, timing, headers and hood scoop, to name a few," Yates pointed out. "We ran with about 25 to 30 percent less horsepower at Denver."

Elapsed times tell the story.  The track Pro Stock record at Denver is
now 7.106 seconds.  At Seattle, it's 6.699 seconds, set last year.

One thing Yates doesn't plan to change this weekend is his excellent starting line performance. He left first in each of his three races and notched two hole-shot wins before exiting against eventual race winner Warren Johnson in the semifinals.

Yates was 14th with a qualifying best of 7.177 seconds while his quickest time in three elimination rounds was 7.211 seconds. That came in his first-round upset of No. 3 qualifier Jason Line, who stopped the clocks at 7.181. The victory was courtesy of Yates' quicker reaction time. He beat Line off the line by six hundredths of a second (.025 to .089) and never looked back.

Yates' winning margin against V. Gaines in the quarterfinals was nine-thousandths of a second. That, too, came via a head start, .045 to .061. He saved his best light of the day for Johnson (.019 to .051), but Johnson drove around him with a 7.134 - second-quickest of eliminations - to a 7.223.

Reaching the semifinals enabled Yates to move into ninth in points (599). He's now within striking distance (two rounds wins or 31 points) of sixth place in a hotly contested fight for the last five berths in the top 10.

Given their expert knowledge of racing in sea level conditions, Yates and the crew are looking forward to this event. "Seattle's a fast track," he said. "We'll be ready."

He's been a finalist three times at Seattle (1999, 1997 and 1994).

What he'd like most on this second stop of the annual Western Swing is to drive that horizontal mile Sunday in quarter-mile increments and go to the winner's circle for photos.

Qualifying is on tap at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations commence at 11 a.m. Sunday.

-jyr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Jason Line