CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
Veteran Yates thriving on close season
Jim Yates is more than happy to be among those running close to the top of the standings. Yates’ SeaRay Boats/B&W Pontiac GTO has one victory (Columbus, Ohio) and one runner-up finish (Houston), helping boost him to third in points with 543 as he prepares for the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
The veteran driver from
Yates was a title contender that year and finished second. “But then the Greg Anderson juggernaut (he won titles in 2003-2005) disrupted that for three years, but it looks like the rest of us have caught up,” he added.
Right now, Yates is intent on making his way to the top. He is 89 points behind
“I like racing at Route 66 Raceway,” said Yates. “It is a great race track.”
He has one runner-up (2001) and was No. 1 qualifier there in 2002.
Yates and Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, his legendary engine builder/tuner, continue their strong performances. The Pontiac GTO has been running better at each event. Yates has been qualifying in the top half of the field and has advanced to at least the semifinals in four of his last six races.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on my reaction times since our last race,” he noted. “I’m trying to improve by a hundredth (of a second). The one who drives the best on Sunday is going to win. We have to let the clutch out on time, hit our shift points and keep the car going straight. That’s hard on the drivers but it’s nice to have that opportunity.
“This class is tougher than ever. You can’t just go up there and outrun everybody. It’s a challenge, but it’s an exciting one.”
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