382 - Doug Yates: Win with Advantages

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Yates, a name synonymous with power. Master engine builder Doug Yates, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Robert Yates, comes to "the table of truth" to share stories with Dale Earnhardt Jr., and co-host Mike Davis, about a family legacy filled with ups, downs and everything between.

Growing up in North Carolina, the epicenter of modern stock car racing, Doug knew nothing different than his father Robert working on engines. But life in Charlotte shifted to the hills of North Wilkesboro. The Yates family uprooted, and went to work for NASCAR car-owner and folk hero Junior Johnson. Living on a farm, just steps away from a modest laboratory of speed, Robert Yates crafted horsepower into the wee hours of the night with his young son right beside him. Doug details the formidable years they spent in Wilkes County and how it prepared them for their racing timeline.

When DiGard Racing came calling, Robert packed up and left the farm. The departure caused tension between Robert and Junior for years. It wouldn't be the only tension. Darrell Waltrip's departure from DiGard resulted in unspoken animosity that spanned decades. It wasn't until Robert's final months, before cancer took his life, that son Doug found a way to get them together to bury the hatchet.

Doug gives us a unique perspective on DiGard’s successes, like the ‘83 title run w/ Bobby Allison and the Daytona 500 win that some called “bumper-gate.” He also details dynamics that led to the fall of DiGard and his father leaving the sport. In 1985, just two years after his engine won, Yates watched the Great American Race from his television.

But soon the sport that came calling for Yates again. Rick Hendrick was using his engines when Ford set up the next opportunity. Doug carefully details the alignment with Ranier-Lundy racing that led eventually led to the creation of Robert Yates Racing.

While young phenom Rusty Wallace was in line to be their driver, Yates took a swing in a different direction, choosing a racer with a familiar pedigree, Davey Allison. With Allison's raw talent and the straightaway speed of Yates Engines, it created speed that even the Intimidator wasn't pleased with. Doug admits the Yates engines were cranking out about 50-horsepower more than the other Ford engines. This forced NASCAR to get involved.

The following years of the Yates story read like a novel. Wins and a near title w/ Davey were followed by his untimely death in a helicopter crash in 1993. Yates opens up about his family's struggle with moving on from a driver that was like a son and a brother. Then, their next big star, Ernie Irvan’s practice crash at Michigan International Speedway. Ernie returned from severe head injuries, to win w/ RYR, but the accident proved to stunt the growth of a once promising career.

Most don’t know that the next step for RYR nearly put Dale Earnhardt as the driver of the Texaco No. 28 Ford. What? But, it was Robert Yates who said he wanted another Dale. Once again, Yates went a different direction and his choice was Dale Jarrett. The combo proved lethal, netting the team two Daytona 500's and the 1998 NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

Doug opens up about the unusual partnership that brought bitter rivals and the two giants of Ford Racing Engines to form an unlikely alliance. Just how did Jack Roush and Robert Yates agree to partner? Doug holds the key. The company still thrives today but not just in racing, manufacturing for medical companies, defense projects and more.

OPEN SEGMENT

  • Dale Jr. announces his new children’s book “Buster’s Trip to Victory Lane”
  • “The” new and dirty name for Open Segment
  • Mike’s commencement speech
  • Kurt Busch's win!

ASKJR presented by Xfinity

Hannah brings fan questions to the table about:

  • Drivers pulling those belts tight
  • Dale Jr.’s Black-top desires
  • How Dale Earnhardt would handle the SIM

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