When one of the legends in the sport leaves us, we remember. If a man is known simply by the company he keeps, Robert Yates did very well. As a team owner, he was the boss to such NASCAR luminaries as Davey Allison, Larry McReynolds, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, and Ricky Rudd.
“Our sport lost one of the most inventive minds and kindest personalities in Robert Yates. I’m glad I got to know him and proud our race team was able to honor him this year at Darlington. He leaves a strong legacy that is carried on by his son, Doug, and all of their employees at Roush Yates Engines. While Robert will certainly be missed, he will always be remembered.”
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.
With the Southern 500 coming our way from Darlington this weekend, it seems like a good time to talk about tradition. The first one in the books was back in 1950, making it the oldest of the sport’s iconic events. Most of the time, it goes to someone who is in or will be in, the Hall of Fame. That number will only grow once Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson get in, along with a few other contenders I can think of.
Change. Sometimes change is good, like when you win a few million dollars. That is good. You get married to your sweetheart. Good. Your children start arriving. If you are a mature adult, and not some self-serving narcissist, that is very good. New talented drivers emerge on the scene. That is also a good thing.
This year’s NASCAR Hall of Fame class might just be the toughest to choose yet. This is the first list of nominees where nobody really jumps out as a slam dunk candidate; compare that to last season which had Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, and especially Benny Parsons, all kind of above the rest of the field.