Doug Yates, the new owner of Yates Racing effective Dec. 1, held a Q&A session Saturday afternoon at Richmond International Raceway to discuss his father's retirement future plans. DOUG YATES, Owner, Yates Racing -- "First of all, my dad...
Doug Yates, the new owner of Yates Racing effective Dec. 1, held a Q&A session Saturday afternoon at Richmond International Raceway to discuss his father's retirement future plans.
DOUG YATES, Owner, Yates Racing -- "First of all, my dad has been doing this for a long time. He's done everything you can do in this sport -- a very lucky guy. He's probably a success story that NASCAR can build upon -- an engine builder that got a chance and won a championship as an engine builder, and then got a chance to win a championship as a car owner. He's reached a point in his life that you guys have heard him talk about in the past year or so -- that he's ready to slow down. I'm very grateful to have a great father and a role model like Robert Yates and for him to allow me to take this to the next level is really a blessing, and I just appreciate him giving me that chance to do it."
WHY ISN'T THE DEAL WITH NEWMAN/HAAS/LANIGAN GOING THROUGH? "The deal with Newman/Haas, first of all it's a great organization with a great reputation, but we established a letter intent of working towards a goal and things were just not progressing fast enough. When my dad said, 'Listen, I'm ready to slow down. It's yours. You can take it where you want.' I felt like an alignment with Roush Racing was a better fit for me and my company and my relationship with Jack in the past. I felt like it was a better road for success for Yates Racing in the future."
YOU HAVE HAD AT LEAST FOUR DEALS IN THE LAST YEAR YOU'VE WALKED AWAY FROM. WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THIS PLAN WILL WORK? "You're exactly right and that's what we're trying to say today is that going forward there's only one plan and the plan is for Yates Racing to go forward and to run two cars next year in the Cup series and with Ford Motor Company's blessing and Roush Racing's blessing to take this thing and make it into a competitive team."
HOW MANY SPONSORS DO YOU HAVE FOR NEXT YEAR? "Right now we're searching for sponsors and that's the reason why we wanted to make this announcement so soon and give them something that's gonna be attractive. We wanted to announce our driver lineup and put it out there because there are a lot of good sponsors that are looking for an attractive proposition such as this and we feel like we can give them results they're looking for."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO NASCAR ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN'T DO WITH THE ROUSH ORGANIZATION? "Absolutely. Mike Helton, my father and myself are really close. We called Mike this week and we talked to him and said, 'Listen, Robert is gonna back down. Doug wants to take it forward,' and Mike blessed that. He's fully aware of what's going on."
IS ROUSH GOING TO HELP YOU WITH SPONSORSHIP? "Yes. I think the infrastructure that Roush Fenway Racing has built is very strong and that's one of the things that's very attractive about this. They have professionals that does this full-time and that's some of the downfall, looking back, the things that Robert and I should have done, they have done so we're gonna try to capitalize on that."
WILL YOU FIELD A BUSCH TEAM NEXT YEAR? "Right now all of that is up for discussion, but our plans are to keep our Busch team going. They've done a good job this year and we're trying to keep that moving forward."
WITH STEPHEN? "Yes, possibly with Stephen."
YOU MADE A DRIVER ANNOUNCEMENT AS WELL. "Yeah, David Gilliland is gonna remain with us and Travis Kvapil is coming aboard, so we have two very young, talented drivers that we think can bring some value to sponsors moving forward and we're excited to have Travis aboard."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT TRAVIS? "The thing about Travis is, one, he's within the Roush organization, so it's something that they've been doing. Travis came to Cup and had some struggles. He went back to the trucks and this year he's won three races and is contention for the championship and I think his confidence is ready to move back to Cup in a competitive car."
SO TWO CARS NEXT YEAR? "Yes, two cars." WHAT'S GOING TO MAKE THIS WORK? "What's gonna make this work is that this is my company moving forward and this is my plan. I don't have a B plan. There's only an A plan and we're gonna make it work. The alignment with Roush Fenway Racing, just like the engine deal, is gonna help the competition side as well as the marketing and some infrastructure that we're lacking today. That's our goal."
HOW WILL YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE DIFFER FROM YOUR DAD'S? "I would probably say that I have a bit of my mom's personality -- probably a little bit more straightforward. Maybe that's kind of a mix between my father and probably a little of what we all see in Jack Roush, so, hopefully, this can continue the Yates legacy of tradition, but also take that to the next level because this is a competitive sport. This is very, very tough. This is business and this is competitive playing field, so if you're gonna be here, you've got to be aggressive and you have to go after the things that are gonna make yourself competitive."
WHAT WILL ROUSH PROVIDE -- HARDWARE AND CARS? "Yeah, Jack is gonna help us with all the hardware -- all of the same things similar to a relationship that Hendrick has with Haas today -- a relationship similar to that, but, hopefully, tighter knit. At the end of the day, Ford Motor Company has really helped me personally. They told me, 'Doug, if you do this, we're behind you.' With Jack's support, I think we can make it work."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MISS ABOUT WORKING WITH YOUR DAD? "The greatest thing in my career has been able to work with my father, but also the toughest thing is working with your father because how hard do you push? How hard do you influence? Now is my time to take the team forward and I feel like we've got a good plan and I'm excited about the future. Like I said, there's only one plan and the plan is to get our teams competitive again and I feel like we can do that."
SO GETTING TRAVIS KIND OF LIKE A TRADE? "Well, it sure works out when you have a driver lineup and you're bringing drivers up, and you've got to give Jack a lot of credit for having driver development programs that pay off. If you look at his driver lineup today, most of those guys were drivers that he groomed and brought up through the system, so, hopefully, Travis can be in that same mold."
WILL THIS RESULT IN A REDUCED WORKFORCE? "When we put our engine program together, it elevated both of our programs because we brought talent from both sides. Hopefully, the same thing is gonna happen here. As strong as Roush Fenway Racing is today, I think by the addition of some of the things we're doing can make the two companies stronger going forward."
WILL THERE BE ANY PEOPLE LET GO AT YOUR PLACE? "The good people are gonna have jobs and that's the goal. There are a lot of families to feed, but things have got to work themselves out in time and we'll see how that goes."
IS THERE ONE PARTICULAR THING THAT MADE YOUR DAD DECIDE TO RETIRE NOW? "It's getting late in the season and if you don't have a solid plan going forward. He said it at Daytona or somewhere and you guys quoted him -- at the end of the year he's gonna retire and step aside and let myself take it. It's just taken till now for him to say, 'Hey, you've got a vision here. You carry it out and you go after it.' My mom and him blessed me to take this and move it forward."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR NEXT YEAR? "The expectation is to build competitive race teams and to build on something that we started and have grown for the past 20 years."
WILL ROBERT BE AT THE TRACK ANYMORE? "He's not here this weekend. Yesterday was their 41st anniversary and they're off doing things they should be doing. He'll be around. It's still his team and still his thing until the end of the year. We'll start the transition process. Hopefully people will take this in a positive. He's had a great career. He's done more than he ever expected and he loves this sport. This is a very positive thing and I feel very happy for him."
ANY CHANCE OF HIM CHANGING HIS MIND? "No. He's gone and he's on a mission. Him and Al Gore may make another movie together, it's just gonna have a NASCAR slant to it because there are gonna be green engines in there. That's kind of his passion and he's got some initiatives and some things he wants to do, and he's got seven grandkids that hopefully he can go to see some things that he didn't see when I was growing up."
WHEN DID IT GET SERIOUS WITH ROUSH? "We've been in business for four years now and I think over that four years our relationship has built up a lot of trust between us. It's been earned on both sides and it was always out there that, 'if you need help, I'll be there to help you.' Timing is everything."
-credit: ford racing