Las Vegas: Jim Yates preview

Jim Yates Continues to Display Title Contending Traits Virginia Driver Off to Good Start in 2005 POWERade Series LAS VEGAS - The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway treats Jim Yates same way a slot machine treats the person looking for payouts.

Jim Yates Continues to Display Title Contending Traits Virginia Driver Off to Good Start in 2005 POWERade Series

LAS VEGAS - The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway treats Jim Yates same way a slot machine treats the person looking for payouts. Sometimes you win, 'em, sometimes you don't.

Yates has had both good times and bad since the NHRA POWERade Series began making its semiannual visits. He qualified No. 1 and was runner-up in 2001, the second year of the event.

Yates and the B&W Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock team are anxious to begin a new chapter in the Vegas vs. Yates competition. It begins with the SummitRacing.com Nationals, Friday through Sunday.

Many things have changed since Yates last appeared here. Most important is the fact the Occoquan, Va. driver is a viable contender for race honors.

The transition began last year when Yates ordered a car from builder Jerry Haas and added horsepower in the from Steve Schmidt engines.

After four races, the results have provided a glimpse at the potential this team has. It began early, in only Yates' third run of the new campaign. He established a career best and Pomona Raceway elapsed time record of 6.699 seconds to claim the No. 1 qualifying position. He reset his personal bests to 6.672 seconds and 206.46 mph last month in Gainesville, Fla.

Yates is fifth with 233 points and is aiming to move higher by the time he leaves Sunday evening.

"We're really looking forward to racing at Las Vegas," said Yates. "We keep learning more and more about our new Grand Am. We tested at Houston Monday and Tuesday and were pleased with the results. Jamie (Yates, Jim and Toni Yates' son and crew chief) continues to make setup and clutch changes that the car responds to very well.

"We've made great strides with the combination. We believe we have a combination that will keep us in the championship race all season."

Yates is a two-time series titleholder (1996-97) who knows how it feels going to each event knowing you have the equipment to win. It's a feeling he's beginning to get again. And one he doesn't want to lose for a long time.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Schmidt , Jerry Haas