IN MEMORIAM: ROBERT "BOB" YATES
IN MEMORIAM: ROBERT “BOB” YATES
(April 19, 1943 – October 2, 2017)
On October 2nd, 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee James Robert “Bob” Yates succumbed to liver cancer. Motorsports racing fans knew Bob Yates as a phenomenal precision competitive engine builder.
In 1988 Bob entered NASCAR as a team owner and with Davey Allison as his driver raced to second place in the season opening Daytona 500 event.
James Robert Yates was born on April 19th, 1943 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the heart of NASCAR country. He has a twin brother named Richard. In his early teens Bob raced dragsters. At age 21, he earned his mechanical engineering degree from Wilson Technical College in Wilson, NC.
Bob was keen to acquire exceptionally talented drivers and support personnel for his Robert Yates Racing Team (RYR). During the 1990s Davey Allison, Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan – all successful and future legends – with Jarrett winning the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship for him as team owner. Each of these drivers equipped with RYR-built engines along with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip would go on to be recognized in Hall of Fame inductions.
By the 2000 year era of NASCAR enacted (greater) parity racing standards RYR and its engines were rendered relatively obsolete and made less competitive in exchange for NASCAR’s greater emphasis on aerodynamics and down-force.
Only a year before his eventual health demise Bob was diagnosed with a “highly aggressive” liver cancer with a prognosis of “not long to live.” Bob outlasted that diagnosis.
James Robert “Bob” Yates passed away on October 2nd, 2017. On January 19, 2018, Bob will be posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. On May 24, 2017 Bob attended the NASCAR HOF Inductee voting ceremony were he learned that he was to be the leading inductee for the 2018 class, along with Ray Everham, Ken Squier, Red Byron and Ron Hornaday, Jr. Visit [https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2017/05/24/robert-yates-nascar-hall-of-fame-class-of-2018-member/] for a great source article on Bob Yates.
Bob, his bushy mustache, "run whatcha brung" engines, fierce competitiveness and winning ways inspired us and made him an easily recognizable factor at NASCAR races during the '80s and '90s and one of our favorites.