Topeka: Jim Yates preview

Yates Eyes Place in Pro Stock Top 10 at Summer Nationals Improved Performances Bring More Confidence to Sea Ray Boats/B&W Team TOPEKA, Kansas, May 26, 2004 - From where he sits, Jim Yates can see the POWERade Series Pro Stock top 10. No, it ...

Yates Eyes Place in Pro Stock Top 10 at Summer Nationals
Improved Performances Bring More Confidence to Sea Ray Boats/B&W Team

TOPEKA, Kansas, May 26, 2004 - From where he sits, Jim Yates can see the POWERade Series Pro Stock top 10.

No, it isn't the penthouse view he'd like to have, but there are 15 races remaining before the curtain comes down the 2004 edition, plenty of time to climb into the top 10. He isn't far off, really. Five points separate the Sea Ray Boats/B&W Pontiac Grand Am from the elite group, and that margin could easily be erased during the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, May 28-30, at Heartland Park.

Yates has 267 points in 11th place while Mike Edwards is one spot ahead with 273 and Rickie Smith two in front with 295.

The Yates family operation - Jim's wife Toni is the team manager, son Jamie is the crew chief and son Jon is a crew member during summer vacation from Clemson University - liked the way their Pontiac ran last Sunday at Joliet, Ill. They stayed at Route 66 Raceway to test Monday before hitting the road to Heartland Park.

"We made some major changes to the tune-up for Sunday's eliminations, and we liked what we saw," Jim Yates reported. "We made some big moves to get our best results. We're excited with what we've seen so far. In our sport, the only ways we can measure the results are in thousandths of a second."

That's not much time in the "real" world, but the fractions of a second quite often provide the winning, or losing, margins in NHRA Pro Stock quarter-mile contests.

Yates improved is qualifying times on each of his four runs during last weekend's rain-plagued Route 66 Nationals. His 6.858 seconds at 200.35 mph was his best and put him 13th starting position.

Knowing he needed a near-perfect starting-line reaction to challenge No. 4 qualifier Dave Connolly, Yates wound up nine-thousands of a second too quick and fouled out. While he didn't like the immediate results, he and Jamie were impressed by the new clutch combination.

"We hadn't tried this clutch before and it worked better than we expected," said Yates, who has two wins (1996-97) in five finals at Heartland Park. "I tried to cut a better (starting) light and missed, but even a perfect light wouldn't have caught Connolly (who won with a 6.883 to Yates' 6.887).

"We are anxious to get to Topeka so we can see what our new combination will do," continued the Occoquan, Va. driver. "We want to get back into the top 10 . . . as soon as we can."

Qualifying takes place Friday at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Sunday's all important eliminations commence at 11 a.m.

-jyr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Rickie Smith , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards