Champion Owner, Engine Builder Robert Yates Dies After Battle With Cancer | Performance Racing Industry
News
Champion Owner, Engine Builder Robert Yates Dies After Battle With Cancer
October 3, 2017
Robert Yates' son, Doug Yates, announced his father’s passing on social media Monday night. In May, Yates was selected for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. He had been battling liver cancer at the time.
Champion Owner, Engine Builder Robert Yates Dies After Battle With Cancer

Robert Yates, a master engine builder and longtime NASCAR team owner, died Monday. He was 74.

In May, Yates was selected for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. He had been battling liver cancer, requiring multiple rounds of immunotherapy treatment. His son, Doug Yates, announced his father’s passing on social media Monday night.

“Hero — my dad’s my hero,” his son, Doug Yates, said in a post on his Twitter account Monday night. “My dad’s the toughest guy you’ve ever met. Never give up, always looking for the positive and looking for a competitive advantage, and that’s the way he raised myself and our family and everybody at Roush Yates.”

Yates’ expansive know-how as a mechanic led his cars to 77 wins in NASCAR’s premier series as an engine builder. After creating Robert Yates Racing in 1989, Yates went on to collect 57 more victories and 48 pole positions as a team owner, adding a series championship for fellow Hall inductee Dale Jarrett in 1999.

In addition to Davey Allison and Dale Jarrett, Yates fielded cars for Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, Elliott Sadler, David Gilliland and others.

He retired from team ownership after the 2007 season, turning his attention to the engine-building company founded by his son, Doug. Now named Roush Yates Engines, that organization continues to power all Ford-backed entries in NASCAR’s top division.

Yates’ selection to the NASCAR Hall is the most recent recognition of his achievements in motorsports. Yates was given the Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000, and in 2007 received the Buddy Shuman Award for Lifetime Achievement in NASCAR.

Yates was the top vote-getter on NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day, named on 94 percent of the ballots. “I don’t even know if I’ll sleep tonight,” Yates said May 24th. “I’m so honored and I love this sport, and I want this sport to do the same thing it did for me, again and again, and again.”

NASCAR released the official statement from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France on the passing of Robert Yates.

“Robert Yates excelled in multiple NASCAR disciplines, earning the respect of an entire industry and an everlasting place in the hearts and minds of the NASCAR fan base. His excellence spanned decades, from the 1983 championship powered by his engines and the 1999 title captured by the cars he owned, both of which helped earn him a deserved spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
 
“And though he was a master at his craft, it was Robert’s passion and character that endeared him to every single person he encountered and will ensure that his memory will live on for generations. On behalf of my family and all of NASCAR, I extend heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of a NASCAR giant, whose legacy will impact an entire industry forever.”