Robert Yates, a name known around the garage for decades sadly lost his battle with cancer Monday.
Many of the sports biggest stars drove for the iconic engine builder and owner, names like Dale Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd, and Davey Allison each drove for Yates during their career in Nascar.
In the photo, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 88 Snickers Ford, speaks with team owner Robert Yates, prior to practice for the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2007, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Travis Lindquist/Getty Images for NASCAR.
1967: The Beginning
In the year 1967, Robert Yates joined with Holman-Moody Racing. He started off as the manager in the team’s air gauge department. He worked hard building state of the art engines for the Wood Brothers and Junior Johnson. Yates would soon partner up with Junior Johnson.
1976 -1985: Golden Years
From the years 1976 to 1985 Yates became a well-known name in and around the garage. His expertise and determination compelled him to succeed with Ricky Rudd, Darrell Waltrip, and Bobby Allison. Yates also built the engines in which Richard Petty scored his 199th and 200th win in the sport. Later on, Yates would start his own team.
Photo Caption – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 3, 1986: NASCAR race team owner and engine builder Robert Yates checks the gap on a set of spark plugs destined for driver Bobby Allison’s car prior to qualifying for the 1986 Firecracker 400 at the Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 1986, in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
1988: The Building of a Dynasty
Robert Yates started his own race team, Robert Yates Racing, in 1988. Davey Allison was Yates first driver and throughout the late 80s and early 90s, Allison would dominate the sport and quickly rose to fame. However, the team and sport were struck with the passing of Davey Allison in 1993 in which hit Yates and his team hard.
1996-1999: Championship Performances
Dale Jarrett opened the 1996 season with a win in Nascar’s most iconic race, the Daytona 500. Jarrett would go on to battle for the championship but came up short. Going into the 1999 season, Jarrett, in his third year with the team, would go on to earn Robert Yates Racing their first championship.
Dale Jarrett on working with Robert Yates:
“From the very first day I walked into the Robert Yates Racing Shop I learned that Robert knew every aspect and detail of his shop from the broom handle to (the) boardroom. Robert Yates was the smartest person in the racing industry from being the premier engine builder to aerodynamics, to chassis knowledge. He was the every and all of NASCAR racing competition and racing operations. And tremendously respected as such.”
2017: Hall of Fame Status
In May of 2017, Robert Yates was given the news that he would indeed be the newest member of the Nascar Hall of Fame. Battling cancer Yates attended the announcements for 2018 class and hearing his name called brought a tremendous joy in the room for a man that has worked so hard finally have his success pay off. While he may not be there in person next January his legacy will live forever in this sport.