Â Â MEMPHIS, Sept. 23, 2001 - When Jim Yates arrived for last weekend's NHRA AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, he was second in Pro Stock championship points, 80 behind Warren Johnson for the Pro Stock championship. Â Â Yates...
MEMPHIS, Sept. 23, 2001 - When Jim Yates arrived for last weekend's NHRA AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, he was second in Pro Stock championship points, 80 behind Warren Johnson for the Pro Stock championship.
Yates and his SplitFire/PEAK Pontiac Grand Am proceeded to register the quickest elapsed time in each of the first three qualifying runs, including a 6.883-second, 198.85-mph pass Saturday afternoon that made him the No. 1 qualifier.
But Yates, 48, became ill soon after that run and was taken to Regional Medical Center for tests to determine the source of his illness. He remained hospitalized and was unable to compete in Sunday's race. The Alexandria, Va., driver is will undergo additional tests Monday. According to Yates' wife Toni, he was resting comfortably and his vital signs are very good.
Even though he was unable to race, Yates still managed to move four points closer to Johnson. Yates earned 38 points for his automatic first round loss, giving him 1196. Johnson, who lost in the first round, has 1272.
Rickie Smith, driving the team's second SplitFire/PEAK Grand Am, was the No. 16 qualifier and was scheduled to race Yates in the first round. Smith soloed to a 6.937 at 198.38 mph. In the quarterfinals, Smith had a .443 reaction time and a 6.940-second time but lost to Jeg Coughlin's 6.955. The difference was Coughlin's excellent .427 reaction.
"When you get a .443 light, run as good as we did and still don't win, we weren't supposed to win," remarked crew chief Terry Adams.