Yates Rejuvenated by New GTO, Runner-up Finish After 1500 Miles of Driving, Yates Wants to Add One More at Motorplex Pro Stock Veteran Looks for Fall Nationals Victory Sunday The drive to the Texas Motorplex in Ennis seemed a lot shorter for...
Yates Rejuvenated by New GTO, Runner-up Finish
After 1500 Miles of Driving, Yates Wants to Add One More at Motorplex
Pro Stock Veteran Looks for Fall Nationals Victory Sunday
The drive to the Texas Motorplex in Ennis seemed a lot shorter for Jim Yates this week.
Yates has been doing a lot more than driving his Sea Ray Boats/B&W/Wiley-X Eyewear Pro Stock Pontiac GTO at NHRA POWERade Series events. He's been behind the wheel of the team's 18-wheel hauler since a crew member was sidelined by a health problem in July.
Yates didn't have much time to savor his runner-up finish at Reading, Pa., Sunday because the rig needed to get to Ennis in time for the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, Friday through Sunday.
Nevertheless, the Occoquan, Va.-based driver was quite happy with the unexpected final round in just the car's second race.
"We can't wait to get to the Motorplex," said Yates, who was on-track for a Wednesday afternoon arrival. "Our new GTO showed what it's capable of. It's smooth and balanced. It's definitely a good car. When Jamie (Yates, his son and crew chief) made changes to the chassis the car responded.
"We are excited with the way things have worked out. This has been awesome for the team. We've been one crewman short for a while so everybody's been working hard."
None, perhaps, more than the boss, who happens to be the only healthy team member with a CDL.
"Our truck doesn't move unless my hands are on the wheel," Yates continued. "I've driven from Seattle to Sonoma, home (to Virginia), to St. Louis, Brainerd, Indianapolis, Reading . . . and now the Dallas area."
Has it affected his driving the new GTO?
"The left foot has been working the clutch on the truck a lot," he answered. "Maybe that's why my lights (starting line reactions) have been better lately."
Like a .008-second reaction against Greg Anderson in Sunday's finals. It got Yates' GTO off the line ahead of Anderson's .047, but Anderson was able to get past him and finish 11-thousandths of a second ahead of Yates -- 6.721 seconds at 205.19 mph to 6.771 at 204.57.
Now Yates plans to build on Sunday's runner-up finish this week.
"Our success has been a twofold process," said Yates. "The GTO made a big difference and (engine builder) Steve Schmidt built an engine with more horsepower. We proved it could qualify in the top half of the field at Reading (No. 5, 6.746 seconds)."
After the 1500-mile drive just to get to the Motorplex, Yates wouldn't mind going another mile Sunday -- winning four rounds and putting his GTO into the winner's circle.
The three round wins last Sunday also revived his goal of climbing out of 10th place (868) in points. A mere 64 points separate positions six to 10. Only three more races remain after this stop -- at Joliet, Ill., Sept. 30/Oct. 1-2; Las Vegas, Oct. 21-23; and Pomona, Calif., Nov. 3-6.