Sonoma: Jim Yates preview

Jim Yates Parlays Quick Starts into Round Wins SONOMA, Calif. - He may not have the quickest or fastest Pro Stock race car, but Jim Yates has found a way to win rounds recently. He leaves his Sunday rivals at the starting line. He did it...

Jim Yates Parlays Quick Starts into Round Wins

SONOMA, Calif. - He may not have the quickest or fastest Pro Stock race car, but Jim Yates has found a way to win rounds recently.

He leaves his Sunday rivals at the starting line. He did it twice at Denver, advancing to the semifinals for the third time season. He followed the pattern in the first round Sunday at Seattle.

Those three round wins enabled the driver of the B&W/Wiley-X Eyewear Pontiac to remain among five tightly-bunched drivers comprising positions six through 10 in the POWERade Series standings. Yates enters this weekend's FRAM Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in ninth place with 650 points.

Another march to the semifinals at the track where he's won three times (1995, 1997, 1999) could boost him several place higher because only 55 points separate sixth from 10th.

Yates, disappointed at not performing better at Seattle, believes the information gleaned from the six runs there will prove invaluable at Sonoma.

"We were never really able to get a handle on our Pontiac's tune-up at Seattle," said Yates. "We ran well at Denver but struggled when we got back to sea level conditions. We just couldn't get in sync.

"The good news is the Seattle and Sonoma tracks are quite similar, so we know what doesn't work. We made a lot of changes, but we haven't turned the right screw yet."

After qualifying 13th, Yates opened a sizable lead on No. 4 qualifiers Greg Anderson at the starting line and was never challenged, winning with a 6.750-second, 204.20-mph pass. Jeg Coughlin, one of the four other drivers among the second five, stopped Yates in the quarterfinals.

"Winning the first round gave us another opportunity to evaluate our setup and collect one more round of data," said Yates. "We have the ability to get our car down a hot, slippery race track."

That's exactly what Yates expects this weekend. And with the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s, that's what he'll be getting.

-jyr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Greg Anderson