Feb. 18, 1998 Yates Keeps Success In Perspective Even though Pro Stock driver Jim Yates doesn't feel overconfident for the NHRA ATSCO Nationals, Feb. 20-22 at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., his record clearly reveals why he has been ...
Feb. 18, 1998
Yates Keeps Success In Perspective
Even though Pro Stock driver Jim Yates doesn't feel overconfident for the NHRA ATSCO Nationals, Feb. 20-22 at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., his record clearly reveals why he has been tagged as the pre-race favorite.
He is a two-time defending champion of the ATSCO Nationals, winning the Arizona event in 1996 and 1997.
He will be seeking his second straight win of the 1998 season. He won the NHRA season opener -- the Winternationals, Feb. 1, in Pomona, Calif. The victory was his 20th career national event win.
He has won the NHRA Winston series championship the past two years, only one of five drivers to ever win back-to-back Pro Stock season titles.
Going back into last season, Yates has won five of the last seven NHRA national events.
"We've had some success, but in reality I'm never really happy or satisfied with where I am at," said Yates, driver of the SplitFire/PEAK Pontiac Firebird. "The older I become, the more and more I've become a perfectionist. People really become aggravated with me because I want everything just right. We've reached the level where in order for people to say we had a good day, we have to win. As a result, we can't let our guard down."
Yates said that his approach to the Arizona race will be no different than any other race.
"We go into each race feeling that we're the underdog and that's the way it will be when we roll into Firebird Raceway," said Yates. "This attitude not only makes us work harder, but gives us more of an appreciation when we do achieve success.
"There's no time to get overconfident, or for that matter, too conservative. The Pro Stock category is so equal that one little miscue can make the difference between having a short or long day of racing."
Last year, Yates had many long days of racing, dominating the Pro Stock category and leading the three professional car classes with driver points (1,963), wins (9), final rounds (12) and elimination round wins (58).
Yates, 44, of Alexandria, Va., is in his first season of a three-year major sponsorship with SplitFire Spark Plugs, PEAK Antifreeze and PEAK Premium Motor Oil.