Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals
Yates scores runner-up
He wanted to put laps on the Sea Ray Boats/Bayshore Power/B&W/Wiley-X Wear GTO and he did so in fine fashion, getting four runs and a runner-up finish. It marked his first final round appearance since 2002, when he won here.
Facing POWERade Series leader Greg Anderson in the title run, Yates used a brilliant .008-second reaction time to take the early lead. Anderson, who had a .047 start, caught him just before the finish line, winning with a time of 6.721 seconds at 205.19 mph while Yates was 11-thousandths of a second behind at 6.771, 209.57 mph.
“We were excited to be in the finals in just our second race with the GTO,” said Yates. “I think we did a great job. We hadn’t been in a final for a while. We missed the tune-up in the finals. It was the first time we’d been in the right lane all day and the conditions were different. We had problems on the run from 60 to 330 feet but the car ran good the last half of the track.”
The weekend got off to a good start for the Yates team when he qualified fifth. He opened with a 6.732 at 204.70 mph effort to beat Richie Stevens, 6.752, 204.60, and moved into the semifinals courtesy of a foul start by Dave Howard. Yates was timed in 6.750 at 204.26.
Jason Line also fouled away his chances in the semifinals while Yates ran 6.739 at 203.02.
“We’re extremely excited about the GTO’s opportunities,” added Yates. “It’s a stable car that is balanced and a dream to drive. Jamie (Yates, Jim’s son and crew chief) did an excellent job tuning the car. This was an awesome showing for our team. We want to thank the fans. We had a lot of them here. It meant a lot to have their support.”
The performance gaveYates a boost in his quest to move up in the standings. He’s 10th with 868 points, five behind Jeg Coughlin Jr., 37 behind Ron Krisher and 39 behind Richie Stevens.
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