Seattle: Jim Yates preview

Jim Yates Looks Forward to 'Regular' Race at Seattle KENT, Wash., July 21, 2004 - Ask people living in Virginia about Seattle and the first response is usually, "It rains there all the time." That really isn't true, but it may seem that ...

Jim Yates Looks Forward to 'Regular' Race at Seattle

KENT, Wash., July 21, 2004 - Ask people living in Virginia about Seattle and the first response is usually, "It rains there all the time." That really isn't true, but it may seem that way.

Something like that could be said of the 2004 NHRA POWERade season. The National Hot Rod Association has become the National Heavy Rain Association in some areas.

"I'm just happy it's not going to rain," said Pro Stock driver Jim Yates upon learning the Seattle-area weekend forecast was for zero percent chance of rain and temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s.

Yates is one of many drivers who will be competing in the 17th annual CarQuest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, Friday through Sunday.

With no rain in the offing, the driver of the Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am knows he'll have four qualifying runs to get reacquainted with competing at sea level. He spent last weekend in Denver, where lack of oxygen robs the engines of horsepower.

"It will feel good to get to Seattle," said Yates, of Occoquan, Va. "We'll just forget what we did at Denver. Things won't be the same because of the altitude in Denver." That includes making four qualifying attempts. Steady rain scrubbed Friday's two important qualifying runs at Denver.

"We always seem to run well and Seattle," he added, "even though we haven't been able to win there yet."

He's come close, though, with three runner-up finishes (1999, 1997 and 1994) and five semifinal appearances in the last 10 years.

The simple fact they'll be racing at sea level provides a confidence booster for Jim and his son/crew chief Jamie.

"The engines will make more power and we won't have to adjust our driving styles to compensate for the lack of oxygen and the car should be easier to tune," said Jim. "The fact the racing surface is new this year will definitely be the wild card."

The Pacific Raceways track received an overhaul since the tour stop a year ago and has not been tested by any of the visiting drivers.

"We think we know what tracks we'll look at to compare runs, but we have to wait and see what this track looks like when we get there," added Yates, who is 13th in the standings with 423 points.

Those important qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations begin Sunday at 11 a.m.

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