News & Car Culture

NASCAR’s Robert Yates—Famed Engine Builder & Team Owner—Gone at 74

Robert Yates - NASCAR


NASCAR team owner and famed engine builder Robert Yates died this week after a battle with liver cancer that began in 2016. Yates was 74.

We’re not happy about adding Yates to this week’s list of Awesome People We Lost Entirely Too Soon. (RIP, Tom Petty.)

This OnAllCylinders writer grew up cheering for NASCAR’s Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan, and Dale Jarrett, making Robert Yates Racing the obvious race team of choice.

Yates excelled at building engines, and had a knack for innovating engine setups that were promptly banned by NASCAR. His NASCAR resume speaks for itself: 77 wins as an engine builder between 1967 and 1988; 57 wins as owner of RYR; five Daytona 500 wins as an engine builder, and that glorious Winston Cup title with Jarrett piloting the #88 in 1999.

Robert Yates Racing stopped full-time Cup racing in 2009. Robert Yates Engines—started in 2003—continues today and is run by Doug Yates, Robert’s son. According to Hemmings, Robert Yates Engines has supplied engines to several NASCAR teams, including Roush Racing, Penske, Wood Brothers, Front Row Motorsports, and Richard Petty Motorsports.

A Yates-built engine won both the Daytona 500 and 24 Hours of Daytona in 2017.

It was announced back in May that Yates would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the 2018 class. We’re glad he got to enjoy that while still with us.

Here’s a clip of Yates reacting to the news:

Godspeed, Mr. Yates.

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