10/03 2017


NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Robert Yates dead at 74

NASCAR Hall of Famer Robert Yates lost his battle with liver cancer on Monday night.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

Yates was a champion engine builder and team owner at the highest level


NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner and engine builder Robert Yates died on Monday.

Yates, 74, was battling liver cancer. His son, Doug Yates, confirmed the details on Monday night via his social media channels.

“Hero,” the younger Yates begins in the attached video. “My dad is my hero and the toughest guy you’ve ever met. He never gave up looking for a competitive advantage. That’s the way he raised myself and our family and everyone at Roush Yates.”

Yates was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in May and was named on 94 of the ballots cast. His vote was the highest for any nominee since 2011 when David Pearson received 94 for that class.

The vote was a testament to his contributions to the sport of stock car racing. He rose to prominence as both an engine builder and a team owner. He broke into the sport with the Homan-Moody team back in 1967.

He then worked with Junior Johnson, pioneering 30 wins from 1969-1975, including LeeRoy Yarbrough’s 1969 sweep of the Daytona 500, Southern 500 and World 600.

He launched his own team in 1988 after purchasing the assets of Ranier-Lundy Racing. That included young gun Davey Allison. They won their first race together a year later at Talladega Superspeedway. They would win 15 of Yates’ overall 57 victories at the highest level of the sport

Allison won the 1992 Daytona 500 en route to a third-place finish in the driver standings.

Yates would expand to a two-car team in 1996 with Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan — winning the Daytona 500 that season with the former. Jarrett would capture the 1999 Cup Series championship for Yates.

Doug is now the CEO Roush Yates and carries the family banner as the elite Ford engine builder in stock car racing.

Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance, issued the following statement on Monday:

“Robert Yates knew the value of hard work and earned everything he achieved in life. Not only was Robert a legendary engine builder and championship car owner, but he was a husband, father, grandfather and loyal Ford man who left an unmeasurable impact on those who knew him.

“He was a respected and valued member of the Ford family and co-founder of Roush Yates Engines, and while we’ll miss the wisdom he possessed for working on engines and race cars, we will miss his caring demeanor and friendship even more.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Robert’s wife, Carolyn, his two children, Doug and Amy, and his eight grandchildren.”

Danica Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing paid tribute to Yates during the Southern 500 with a paint scheme that mimicked the No. 88 Jarrett took to the championship. Team owner Tony Stewart released his own statement:

“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.”