The secret to success in racing begins with horsepower and nobody knows that better than Robert Yates Racing founder and owner Robert Yates. Considered a premier engine builder and one of the most brilliant minds in horsepower, Robert Yates now boasts one of the most high profile and successful teams in NASCAR.

Growing up as one of nine children in a well-respected Charlotte family, Yates enjoyed a childhood full digging tunnels, building fortresses and riding bicycles. As a youth, he found himself drawn to a local Gulf service station where he watched the mechanics service cars. Fascinated by what he saw, he and his twin brother, Richard, began tinkering with lawn mower engines, converting them into go-cart engines. To support the expense of go-cart parts and fuel, the boys began delivering newspapers to earn money.

In his teenage years, Yates focused his interests on cars - fast cars. Working day and night to save money, Robert and Richard dreamed of owning a car. Their father, Rev. John Clyde Yates, respected how hard they worked and rewarded them with their first car: a 1947 Pontiac. Little did his father know that this car would build the foundation for Robert's reputation as one of the premier engine builders in stock car racing.

Throughout high school, Robert worked tirelessly to support his passion for working on cars. After school he worked at Babe Malloy's drive-in restaurants in Charlotte and Asheville, often going to bed at midnight, only to rise at 3:30am to deliver newspapers. The hard work didn't bother Yates, as long as he was able to build and modify his cars.

Drag racing on the side streets of Charlotte, Yates' heavy foot caused him a fair amount of trouble with the Charlotte police - and his parents. More interested in working on his car than doing his homework, Yates was floundering in school. With a father that believed in education above all else, there was no choice but to take Robert's driver's license away. Fortunately, this caused young Robert to realize he needed to find direction in his life.

Robert's sister and her husband invited him to live with them in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Leaving the cars behind for a while, Robert focused on school and graduated from Wake Forest High School as a straight-A student in 1961.

With the need for speed still in his blood, Robert witnessed his first NASCAR race in Daytona in 1963. Fueled by his affinity for mechanics, Robert graduated from Wilson Technical College in Wilson, North Carolina in 1964 with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1965, Robert married his sweetheart, Carolyn and in 1967, they welcomed the arrival of their first baby, son Doug Yates.

In 1967, Robert was employed by Western Carolina Tractor Company in Charlotte where he refurbished large pieces of machinery. His ability to assemble and disassemble various mechanical jobs with speed and accuracy gained the attention of the shop foreman and Robert was able to work on various projects throughout the shop. It also gained the attention of a friend that worked at the legendary Holman-Moody racecar factory.

Yates joined Holman-Moody in 1968 as the air gauge department manager and got his first real taste of racing. This opportunity required an average of 100 hours a week, yet provided an improved income for his family and Robert thoroughly enjoyed the work. It was quickly discovered that Yates was an engine-building genius and his career of creating horsepower with NASCAR engines had begun. Throughout his tenure at Holman-Moody, Yates gained invaluable experience working on the latest engines and technology.

In 1971 Yates joined forces with Junior Johnson's organization to oversee engine development for legendary drivers Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough. Over the next decade, Yates provided the best horsepower available at the time for a variety of drivers including Ricky Rudd, Greg Sacks and Darrell Waltrip. During his tenure at DiGard, Yates worked as chief engine builder for Bobby Allison's 1983 Winston Cup Championship team.

After leaving DiGard in 1986 to work on the development of synthetic fuels, Yates returned to racing as general manager for Ranier-Lundy Racing, beginning the next chapter of his life story. In 1988, with the team struggling and up for sale, Robert Yates - at the urging of dear friend and driver Davey Allison - purchased Ranier-Lundy Racing and formed Robert Yates Racing (RYR).

Together Allison and Yates were title contenders in 1992 and finished a respectable third. In 1993, however, Robert Yates Racing lost both a driver and a friend when Allison was killed in a helicopter crash. To fill the seat of the famed #28 Ford in 1994, Ernie Irvan stepped in and the team found immediate success. Irvan won five races for RYR before he was critically injured in an accident at Michigan in 1994.

In 1995, Yates signed Dale Jarrett to drive the #28 Ford. The following year, Irvan made a heroic return to the car, while Yates expanded his race team to a two-car organization. Yates created the #88 Ford for Jarrett, which turned out to be a stellar career decision: he was awarded his first NASCAR championship in 1999 with Jarrett behind the wheel.

Yates had two more drivers take the wheel of the legendary #28 Ford. First, the late Kenny Irwin captured Rookie of the Year honors in 1998. After two seasons with Irwin, Yates named veteran Ricky Rudd as his driver in 2000. During his three season tenure, Rudd posted four wins in the #28 Ford.

Infusing new energy into the organization in 2002, Yates added young gun Elliott Sadler and transitioned the #28 to the #38 Ford car entry.

The 2004 season opened with instant success with Dale Jarrett taking the checkered flag at the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway followed by an Elliott Sadler trip to victory lane in the Gatorade Twin 125's later that same week. Sadler picked up two more wins, at Texas Motor Speedway and California Speedway and finished ninth in the championship point standings.

In 2005, Robert Yates Racing will add a third team to its roster. The #90 Ford sponsored by CitiFinancial will compete in the NASCAR Busch series of racing.

Originating from humble beginnings to reach the upper echelon of NASCAR racing, Robert Yates is a testament to hard work, determination and a constant quest for excellence. With all of his success, Yates still remains a hands-on leader with a gentle, approachable demeanor.

Yates resides in Cornelius, North Carolina with his wife Carolyn. Yates' children include Doug, the oldest of the couple's two children who heads Roush-Yates Racing Engines and daughter, Amy.





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