Yates Excited about Busy - Six Races in Seven Weeks - Schedule Good Showing in Bristol, Tenn., Boosts Virginia Driver's Confidence COMMERCE, Ga., May 22, 2004 - Given their druthers, NHRA professional drivers would race every week instead of one...
Yates Excited about Busy - Six Races in Seven Weeks - Schedule
Good Showing in Bristol, Tenn., Boosts Virginia Driver's Confidence
COMMERCE, Ga., May 22, 2004 - Given their druthers, NHRA professional drivers would race every week instead of one every other week.
They'll get their chances, starting this weekend at Atlanta Dragway with the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, May 14-16. It's the beginning of a stretch of six races in seven weeks, which makes Jim Yates happy.
Yates sees no problem in a busy schedule for his Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock team. He is, he says, "excited about racing as often as we are. Streaks like this separate the teams. We won't have many chances to test between races. That may be scary for some of the teams, but we'll be ready."
The first hectic part of this 23-race POWERade Series comes at an opportune time for Yates and the crew. He ran well at Bristol, Tenn., in his last outing, and that success provided the impetus for a move back into the 10. He's ninth with 226 points, five rounds out of sixth and seven rounds behind No. 4 Jeg Coughlin's 365.
"We had a pretty good weekend at Bristol," added Yates. "We made a lot of progress with the car and Jamie (Yates, son/crew chief) came up with a good combination on race day. He was able to adapt to the conditions and the lane we raced in."
Yates, the No. 11 starter, upset No. 6 Ron Krisher in the first round with a slower 6.825-second time to a 6.816 from Krisher. Yates had a big lead at the starting line, leaving first with a .045 reaction time to Krisher's .151.
In the next round, Yates again had the best run in the right lane, 6.847 seconds, but lost to Kurt Johnson's 6.801. His 6.825 time was the second-best in the right lane throughout race day.
With warmer temperatures coming, Jim and Jamie Yates are looking for a combination that will negotiate slippery racing surfaces. And with the lessons learned at Bristol, it may make it easier to get down an Atlanta Dragway surface that is expected to be tricky, given the 80-degree temperatures that are expected during the event.
"I think we are figuring out what this chassis wants in different situations," added Yates, of Occoquan, Va. "We will have chances to win rounds at the rest of the races this year. This is a long, long season. We're trying to move closer to the front of the pack, and we'll be doing that for the next 17 races."
Yates has two wins at Atlanta Dragway (2001, 1997) and one runner-up (1996).
Other stops on this six-race march through the South, Midwest and East are at Chicago (May 21-23), Topeka, Kan. (May 28-30); Columbus, Ohio (June 11-13), Englishtown, N.J. (June 18-21) and St. Louis (June 25-27).
Southern Nationals qualifying is scheduled Friday at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.