Racing in St. Louis at Night Appeals to Jim Yates MADISON, Ill., June 25-27, 2004 - For the first time all year, Jim Yates really won't have to be concerned about the expected hot, steamy weather in the St. Louis area this weekend. There's no...
Racing in St. Louis at Night Appeals to Jim Yates
MADISON, Ill., June 25-27, 2004 - For the first time all year, Jim Yates really won't have to be concerned about the expected hot, steamy weather in the St. Louis area this weekend.
There's no special pipeline to upcoming weather in Yates' Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock camp, just the knowledge the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway will be run at night Friday through the Sunday. It's the only such event on the 2004 NHRA POWERade Series docket.
"It was really hot and humid at Englishtown (N.J., site of the SuperNationals)," Yates recalled, "but St. Louis will be a pleasant change from what he had there because the conditions will be cooler at night. We have had a little good luck there running at night."
Yates does have a special affinity for Gateway under the lights. He won there in 1999 before it was an official night race. Inclement weather forced the completion of competition into the early hours of the next day. He's also finished second in 1997, the track's inaugural event, and 2001.
"It's nice to look forward to going to a race," Yates said. "We tried a lot of different things at Englishtown. Not all the changes helped, but we learned a lot. We're in this series for the long run and we gained more knowledge on how to run this combination."
This hasn't been an ideal year for Yates, his son/crew chief Jamie and the crew. They've struggled while searching for combinations on what this Rick Jones-built chassis needs to run the competitive elapsed times it takes to win rounds and races.
Yates was 13th (6.834 seconds) and ran consistently during qualifying in New Jersey, just not as quick as he hoped. Sunday, the Occoquan, Va. resident was quicker, thanks to a weather change that brought in cooler, drier air on Sunday. He upset No. 4 qualifier Dave Connolly in the first round with a huge hole shot (.013 to .056) and was timed in 6.777 seconds. He lost in the quarter- finals to Kurt Johnson, who advanced to the finals before losing.
Engine-builder Bob Ingles was on hand to tune the motor during the day, freeing Jim and Jamie Yates to make the tuning calls.
"We are going in the right direction," Yates concluded. "And we are going to fight to be in the middle of the pack
Pro Stock qualifying is on tap Friday and Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. Eliminations begin at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.