Gainesville: Jim Yates preview

Prospect of More Horsepower Bodes Well for Jim Yates Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock Driver Looks Forward to Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2004 - It's been said you can't win the Kentucky Derby with a plow horse. ...

Prospect of More Horsepower Bodes Well for Jim Yates Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock Driver Looks Forward to Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2004 - It's been said you can't win the Kentucky Derby with a plow horse. Thus far, that's been true.

In drag racing's ultra-competitive Pro Stock category, it takes a lot of horses to compete for race wins and, ultimately, the NHRA POWERade championship. Those horses translate to horsepower, and power is one vital component. For a winning combination, throw in a good chassis and clutch setup.

Jim Yates is hoping to meld those components into that winning combination this weekend in the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. He has workable chassis and clutch combinations and now he's added more horsepower to the mix with the belief it will provide the boost needed to run with the top four or five Pro Stock drivers.

To make sure, Yates and his Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am team visited Bradenton, Fla., for a Wednesday test session before driving to Gainesville and Friday's first day of qualifying.

"We need to make the car softer leaving the starting line so it won't shake the tires," explained Yates. "We just got our race motor from Bob (Ingles, the team's engine builder) and we're looking forward to testing the chassis and the motor. This motor is a lot peppier than the ones we used in the first two races.

"The good thing is we'll be able to find a combination that works and go right to Gainesville and run it. That will make a big difference. We always look forward to racing there," added the driver from Occoquan, Va.

Yates won Gatornationals titles in 1996-97, the same years he captured the series championship. He was the race runner-up in 1998.

He's currently 14th in Pro Stock with 61 points, seven behind 10th place, with 21 of 23 races remaining.

Yates will have four qualifying attempts - 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday - before Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

-jls-

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