Robert Yates, a legendary NASCAR engine builder and championship team owner, passed away Monday. Yates was 74 and had been battling liver cancer.
His son, Doug Yates, announced his father’s passing on Twitter Monday night saying: “My Dad and Hero…has passed and is with the Lord. Thanks for all the prayers and support.”
Yates, who was selected for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 this past May – leading the way with 94 percent of the votes, excelled in two aspects of NASCAR that put him among the sport’s greats – engine building and team ownership.
“My dad’s the toughest guy you’ve ever met,” said Doug Yates, who continues his father’s legacy as an engine builder. “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, who began his career at Holman-Moody Racing in 1968, landed a job with NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson in 1971 – and the rest is history. He provided the power behind Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, later leading Allison to a series championship in 1983 with DiGard Racing. In the late 1980s, Yates launched his own team, Robert Yates Racing. Success followed as an owner as Yates won a total of 57 races with Ford horsepower, including three Daytona 500s and the 1999 NASCAR Cup Series championship with Dale Jarrett, member of the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class.