ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 19, 2001 - Don't blame Jim Yates if you see a wide smile on his face tonight. The Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am driver has an extra $50,000 in his pocket by winning the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel at Old Bridge ...
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 19, 2001 - Don't blame Jim Yates if you see a wide smile on his face tonight. The Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am driver has an extra $50,000 in his pocket by winning the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
"We're on a heck of a roll right now," Yates said. "The car has been running really consistent. This Grand Am is one of the best racecars I've had since the '96 and '97 championship cars."
It was the second Dominator Duel victory for the 47-year-old Yates. He defeated Kurt Johnson in round one and Warren Johnson in round two before facing Mark Pawuk in a final-round battle of Pontiac Grand Ams.
"Terry Adams came on board last year and the team has matured as a group of people," Yates said. "We had to switch motors today after the first round of the Duel. We had a motor that Bob (Ingles) had run on the dyno that looked really good, but we had some problems with the vacuum in the engine and that created a big question. We left it in for the first round of the Duel. After that we took it out and switched motors to run Warren (Johnson), put in our backup motor with a different set of carburetors, went out there and had it tuned just a little bit wrong, struggled a little bit, but still got the win light.
"We came back to tune it up for the finals against Pawuk. He put us in the bad lane and we went right down through there with a 6.89. That's a pretty good number for that lane for that session."
Yates' Pontiac left the line first and rocketed to a winning 6.899 elapsed time at 200.41 mph. Pawuk's Grand Am crossed the finish line in 6.911 seconds at a speed of 199.88 mph. Yates, who is the current Winston points leader, won this event in 1997. He's qualified seventh for Sunday eliminations.
"The key is that this team doesn't give up," said Yates. "They keep working on the car. Their attitude is that we're going to race our side of the racetrack and the other guy better have his stuff together or he's going to lose. When you get in the car as a driver, and you have a good racecar underneath you, you're just a better driver."
It was also a nice payday for Pawuk. By advancing to the final round of the Dominator Duel, the 43-year-old driver of the Summit Racing Pontiac pocketed $10,000, plus an additional $3,000 for grabbing his second No. 1 qualifier of the year. Pawuk's run last night of 6.832 seconds at 200.17 mph stood unmolested through the final two sessions today. It is the second time this season that Pawuk has captured the raceday pole position. He was No. 1 qualifier at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
"Not a bad day but I'd rather have left here tonight with the 53-grand," Pawuk said. "I just missed it in the final. I knew I was late as soon as I left the starting line. Jim (Yates) made a darn good run in the other lane.
"We ran consistent today, my driving got us at least into the finals, but I wish I could have won it for Holley, Matco Tools, Summit Racing and Pontiac. We still have tomorrow. We're going in as No. 1 qualifier but I know we're not the fastest car out there.
"After we didn't run well during the first round of the Duel, we made some drastic changes to the Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am, stuff that we were testing last week before we came here. It really looked like it picked up our performance when the track got hot today. Our last pass was fair. We were kind of soft. It went down there and a 6.911 wasn't bad. We ran more speed so I think were headed back in the right direction. We would've liked to have won the Duel, but Jim's been running awfully good and his team's done a great job over there, just like ours' has."
Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Grand Am) -- "We lost the computer on the first run so we had no data to go by. We thought it was a pretty safe run so we decided to load her up for the second run. Friday night the track was a little too cool, we were too aggressive and shook the tires in first and second. We ran fine after that. If we took the 330 run from the first pass and applied it to the second run, we'd have had a 6.801. But that didn't happen. We broke a valve spring against Yates in the second round of the Duel. We put a new valve spring on and ran 6.87. It's been one of those weekends. We're in pretty good shape if we don't break stuff. We're just a shade off on our tuneup for the racetrack and the changing conditions. We kind of missed it in the first round today, came back second round, ran a good 60-foot and 330-foot but broke the spring. It's just one of those deals. We have the equipment to get the job done, we just need a little luck - or we don't need any bad luck let's put it that way."