Pocono II: Doug Yates - Ford Friday interview

Earlier this week, Elliott Sadler requested his release from Robert Yates Racing at the end of the 2006 season and it was granted. Doug Yates, co-owner of the No. 38 and No. 88 Ford Fusions, spoke about this situation in the Pocono Raceway garage...

Earlier this week, Elliott Sadler requested his release from Robert Yates Racing at the end of the 2006 season and it was granted. Doug Yates, co-owner of the No. 38 and No. 88 Ford Fusions, spoke about this situation in the Pocono Raceway garage area Friday morning.

DOUG YATES, Co-Owner -- No. 38 and No. 88 Ford Fusions

WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO ELLIOTT'S DECISION? "Elliott saw the way things were shaping up within our organization and he decided that he felt he had a better opportunity somewhere else. There are some big shoes to fill right now within our organization. We need a leader and need somebody who can carry the team back to where it needs to be and he felt like he had a better deal somewhere else. But with that said, we want to make sure that we realize we've had four really good years together. We've won races and sat on poles throughout the time we've been together and we've made the chase. I think that we need to make sure that we both appreciate what we've done together. I think we've helped Elliott's career. Was it a stepping stone to get somewhere else? Maybe, but I think Robert Yates Racing has some good things in store in the future and we've just got to go out and prove that."

YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS POSITION BEFORE -- HAVING TO FIND A DRIVER -- AND THIS IS JUST ANOTHER TRANSITION PERIOD ISN'T IT? "Yeah, it's a transition period. The times have changed so much that it's hard to relate back to the way it was back in 1995 and '96 (when the team went from one to two teams), but in today's world the most encouraging thing is you look out here in this sport and you look at the young drivers that are here and the talent that's coming up and it's really impressive. You've got Kyle Busch, who is 20 years old, winning races. Guys are getting into these things and doing a really good job. There's a lot of good talent out there and we just have to latch onto some of that and build our team back to where it needs to be."

YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR A DRIVER FOR THE 88 FOR A FEW WEEKS. WHAT IS THE MARKET LIKE OUT THERE RIGHT NOW? "First of all, to define what we want as a driver. We want somebody that wants to be with us; somebody that's willing to dig in and be part of the organization; live it and help us do the things that we need to do. It's very critical to get somebody that wants us. There needs to be a mutual attraction. There's some good young talent out there that we're looking at. I think we'll have some announcement soon on at least one of the cars. We're running Stephen Leicht here at Pocono for his first Cup start and he's been very impressive. Every race this year in the Busch Series he's run equally as well or better than Elliott and we feel we have a future with Stephen Leicht. Is he ready for Cup next year? I don't know. We'll let that take care of itself these next few weeks and the rest of the year. Then there are a lot of guys available that maybe need to revitalize their career or another chance, so we'll look at that as well. The main thing is that M&M's is committed to our team. We've done a lot of great things together. We brought them their first win in 15 years in this sport and they appreciate that. So having M&M's, along with Ford Motor Company being behind our organization, is what's keeping us going forward and will make this team strong."

YOUR NAME IS ON THE BUILDING AND EVEN THOUGH THIS IS A BUSINESS, IS IT HARD NOT TO TAKE A DECISION LIKE THIS PERSONALLY? "If you do this long enough, you get some pretty thick skin. Everybody has to realize that we're going to be doing this for a long time and you have to appreciate today and tomorrow. Sure, when people decide to do something different it's not an easy thing, but you know what, since the decision has been made, now we can breathe and now we can go and work towards the future. That's what is most exciting. We would have liked for Elliott to stay because we've done some good things together, but if he wants do something else, then he should go do something else. Since the decision has been made, now we can go and live the rest of our lives. It's a really good thing for our company to have this behind us. We wish Elliott well. Do I wish he would have stepped up and be the leader of the team? Sure, but he didn't and I'm not going to hold any hard feelings toward him in that respect. Elliott Sadler is a good person. Dale Jarrett is a good person and 10 years from now we're going to be sitting around laughing about and talking about the good things we did together. We've got to remember that today and not get caught up in today. What Robert and I have to do is really focus on getting our program where it needs to be. If we do that, then everything will be fine. If we don't, then we don't deserve to be here."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FUTURE AT RYR? "I'm really encouraged about what the future holds. You don't want to go around lying to people. People in our organization need to know where we're going to be. We have a lot of responsibility as team owners because we provide for a lot of families and they provide for us. When you can look them in the eye and say, 'Good things are happening,' and really believe that, then that's a great feeling. It's hard to walk around and hide what you really feel."

-ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Stephen Leicht , Kyle Busch
Teams Yates Racing