Memphis: Jim Yates preview

Good Results Boost Yates' Confidence for Mid-South Nationals MEMPHIS, August 18, 2004 - Working on Sunday is an occupational hazard for Pro Stock driver Jim Yates. It's good when you do, awful when you don't. There are 23 NHRA POWERade Series...

Good Results Boost Yates' Confidence for Mid-South Nationals

MEMPHIS, August 18, 2004 - Working on Sunday is an occupational hazard for Pro Stock driver Jim Yates. It's good when you do, awful when you don't.

There are 23 NHRA POWERade Series races this season, limiting the demand to almost half the Sundays. Throw in testing, rain-out returns and such and it could be as many as 30 Sundays.

The idea, however, is to be competing on race day - like Sunday, the final day of the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Any one of the 16 starting spots is okay with Yates - even 16th, where the first-round draw is the No. 1 qualifier. That's what Yates and his Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am team have done in the last two events, when his No. 16 starting positions forced him to race 12-time 2004 race winner Greg Anderson.

"Racing Greg is a lot better than not racing anybody," says Yates, a winner here in 1997 and runner-up in 1996. "You always go up and give it your best shot."

He did that, too, last Sunday at Brainerd, Minn., but Anderson prevailed with a 6.771-second at 203.43-mph run to Yates' 6.819 at 202.36.

Despite losing, Yates was energized by his car's performance. "It was one of the best runs we've made all year," he said. "We're happy. We always correct each run we make with the atmospheric conditions and this one was perfect. It's the first time that's happened this year."

Yates found time to make test runs at St. Louis en route to Memphis and liked what he saw there, too.

"We are excited going to Memphis," he said. "We tested our race motor and our new motor and learned a lot. We ran our new motor one day and our race motor one run. We were happy with that run and decided to leave for Memphis."

The next run he makes will be Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the first to two qualifying sessions. The other is at 7 p.m. and is followed by two more Saturday at 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at 3 p.m.

Yates and son/crew chief Jamie credited several tune-up changes made during qualifying at Brainerd with giving them a different direction to go for Sunday's eliminations. "We made a good run Saturday (6.798 seconds at 203.112 mph) to qualify and we combined it with other things we learned for Sunday against Greg," said the Occoquan, Va., driver.

The combination is what Yates plans to use at Memphis Motorsports Park. His goal is to qualify better and not have to race Anderson in the opening round.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson