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Yates: Familiarity with Maple Grove Raceway May Bring Good Results READING, Pa., Sept. 15, 2004 - If NHRA POWERade points were awarded for tenacity and testing, Jim Yates just might be among the 2004 frontrunners. Yates has put many, many laps...

Yates: Familiarity with Maple Grove Raceway May Bring Good Results

READING, Pa., Sept. 15, 2004 - If NHRA POWERade points were awarded for tenacity and testing, Jim Yates just might be among the 2004 frontrunners.

Yates has put many, many laps on his Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pro Stock Pontiac Grand Am since the curtain went up in February. More laps, unfortunately, than he's made on 18 race days.

Yates and his team have shown perseverance and the kind of never-give-up enthusiasm that fans feel should be rewarded. Well, maybe his time is right, because the Lucas Oil Nationals event is on tap this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway.

Jim and Toni Yates have been going to Maple Grove Raceway for many years, long before Yates began his professional career. The memories stretch from Jim's first racing days as a bracket racer to their national-event victories in 1996-97 and 2002.

"We used to have the bracket finals here every year and it was a big deal for us to race here," recalled Yates, who is 13th in points. "Now we come in just trying to qualify."

The old adage about familiarity breeding contempt doesn't apply to Yates and Maple Grove. If anything, the Occoquan, Va.-base driver says, it's totally opposite.

"We could be struggling at other races and come to Maple Grove and run well," he added. "We know about the atmospheric conditions and what occurs with changing weather patterns because we have run here so many times over the years. Typically, our combination tends to run very well here.

"This year is different for us because we haven't been running well, but we hope to run well and win some rounds on Sunday."

Yates' three wins at this track nestled in Amish country equal his career-best for wins at one track. He also has three at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. His 2002 victory here was his last in POWERade Series competition.

Yates tested for two days at Bud's Creek, Maryland, seeking a combination that will not only qualify the Pontiac, but take it to the winning level he wants.

"We tested our new motor, looking at different combinations," Yates said. "We changed carburetors and tune-ups to see what we could come up with for this weekend. We'll have our race motor back in the car in time for qualifying so we can see what we learned testing."

Sessions are slated for 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, weather permitting. Eliminations take place Sunday at 11 a.m.

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