Robert Yates offered a lot of what he had in 1988 to buy a suffering group in nascar’s pinnacle-stage collection. He became recommended within the mission by a younger 2d-era racer from alabama, a supremely confident wheelman who felt he and yates should do extraordinary things together. Over the next 21 years robert yates racing received forty eight poles and fifty seven races with the overdue davey allison, and later with a handful of different drivers.
On Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C., the 74-year-old Yates — in failing health, but clearly delighted by the moment — was honored for his successes by being voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Allison, one expects, likely will make it next year, joining his father, Bobby, a 2011 inductee.
Former Modified and Cup champion the late Red Byron also made the five-man class. So did four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, three-time Cup championship-winning crew chief Ray Evernham and veteran broadcaster Ken Squier. The Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR went to Jim France. The Class of 2018 was selected and announced on Wednesday, and will be inducted in January.
Yates began his career in 1968 in the engine shop at Holman-Moody Racing. He went on to win the 1983 NASCAR title as engine-builder for Bobby Allison at DiGard Racing; 16 years later he won the 1999 Cup as team owner and builder for Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett. Among Robert Yates Racing’s signature victories were the 1992 Daytona 500 with Davey Allison, the 1996 and 2000 Daytona 500s with Jarrett, and the 1996 and 1999 Brickyard 400s with Jarrett. In addition to Allison and Jarrett, the organization won Cup races with Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd and Elliott Sadler during its 21-season run;
Evernham was crew chief during Jeff Gordon’s 1995, 1997 and 1998 championship-winning Cup seasons. He abruptly left Hendrick Motorsports late in 1999 to spearhead Dodge’s long-planned return to NASCAR. As an owner between 2000 and 2007, his Dodge team won 13 races, including the 2002 Brickyard 400 with Bill Elliott. (Kasey Kahne won seven races for Evernham, Elliott four and Jeremy Mayfield two). Before that, Evernham was on the pit box for 47 of Gordon’s 93 Cup victories, including two Daytona 500s and two Brickyard 400s;
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Byron’s career was very short, which gave some voters pause. He ran only six of eight races in 1949, winning two and the first Cup by 117.5 points. He entered only nine of the next 60 races over two seasons before retiring. He moved to Cup with owner Raymond Parks and crew chief Red Vogt after winning the 1948 Modified title, NASCAR’s first of any kind. It was clear during the deliberations that despite his skinny resume, many voters felt he belonged in the Hall because he was sport’s first champion;
Hornaday is the overwhelming figure in the Camping World Truck Series. He won 51 races and four championships, had a record 158 top-5 finishes and a record 234 top-10 finishes. He won five consecutive races in 2009, something done only three other times in any of NASCAR’s three upper-level series;
France is the surviving son of the late NASCAR founder Bill France and Ann B. France, and brother of the late NASCAR president, Bill France Jr. Favoring a very low profile, Jim France nevertheless has been involved in almost every department of running NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. since the early 1970s.
Yates led all candidates with 94 percent of the 54 votes cast. Byron got 74 percent, Evernham 52 percent and Squier 40 percent. Hornaday won a tie-breaker re-vote with 38 percent. The late Alan Kulwicki was sixth in the balloting, followed by the late Buddy Baker and Davey Allison.