In Loving Memory of Robert Yates

MOORESVILLE, NC,  October 4, 2017 –

J. Robert Yates
Cornelius, N.C. – J. Robert Yates, 74, passed away on October 2, 2017, at his home in Cornelius, N.C. surrounded by loving family and friends.

Robert was born April 19, 1943, in Charlotte, N.C., son of the late Rev. J. Clyde Yates Sr. and Mrs. V.C. Yates.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 51 years, Carolyn Helms Yates; son Doug Yates and his wife Whitney, their children Lane, Christian, Olivia and Sophia; daughter Amy Carrick and her husband Jeff and their children, Ethan, Nicholas, Brody and Caroline; sisters Rachel Wall, Martha Brady, Phyllis Harvel, Elaine Rogers, Doris Rogers; and twin brother, Richard Yates. He was predeceased by his brother Clyde Yates, Jr. and Sarah Goare.

As a member of Trinity Baptist Church, he served as deacon and worked on many church activities. The Yates family, including spouses, nieces and nephews, have been an example of how a large and close Christian family can bring blessings to others.

Donations may be given in memory of Robert Yates to International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230 or online at

Robert Yates is one of the most beloved personalities in racing. His down-to-earth demeanor and Southern charm, which makes many race fans feel like they know him, shadows a brilliant mind and an intense desire to win.

For nearly 40 years, Yates worked in the sport of stock car racing, steadily and progressively building a legendary career that made him part of NASCAR history.

Yates has made a name for himself as one of NASCAR’s modern era top team owners, ultimately securing a NASCAR championship with driver Dale Jarrett in 1999. From the day he opened the doors of Robert Yates Racing (RYR) for business in 1988, Yates used his secret weapon to build the championship-winning organization. That secret weapon is the notorious Yates horsepower. While that horsepower made him a legend, Yates prides himself on the fact that his business started as a true family organization and continues as such today with his son, Doug, leading the engine-building efforts of the Roush Yates Racing Engines business.

In 1967, Yates joined Holman-Moody Racing – Ford’s stellar factory operation – as the manager in the team’s air gauge department. He worked hard to transform bored blocks into some of the most powerful race winning engines.

In early 1986, Yates briefly left racing to work on the development of Ethanol synthetic fuel. But the desire for the world of competitive auto racing was still present. It wasn’t long before Yates knew where he should be. By August, he returned to the garage area as team manager for Ranier/Lundy Racing and started his own engine business.

Almost two (2) years after joining the Ranier/Lundy Racing organization, Yates’ years of hard work under the hoods was rewarded and he was afforded the opportunity to purchase the team from its current owners. With Davey Allison’s encouragement, Yates took his career to the next level and opened the doors of Robert Yates Racing in 1988.

Dale Jarrett and Yates teamed up for the first time in 1995. After a fairly successful first season together, Yates decided he wanted to hold on to the talent of Jarrett, and decided to expand his organization into a two-car operation. Jarrett began piloting the #88 car in 1996 and quickly proved to the racing world that Yates instincts were validated by winning both the Busch Clash and the Daytona 500.  Yates was able to capture his first Winston Cup Championship with Jarrett behind the wheel in 1999.

Robert Yates and Jack Roush spent decades as rivals in business and racing before deciding to team up in 2004 with Ford’s support. The resulting company, Roush Yates Engines is an alliance of these two racing legends. The joining of forces has proved to be a winning formula.

On September 7, 2007, Robert Yates announced his retirement as President of Robert Yates Racing following the last race of the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.  Yates continued with his joint ownership of Roush Yates Racing Engines as well as other ventures. In September 2009, Yates sold his share of Roush Yates Engines to his son, Doug Yates.

In 2010, a new business brought Robert Yates out of retirement and back into NASCAR to form Robert Yates Racing Engines.

Career Highlights:

–                  1999 NASCAR Championship Team Owner for Dale Jarrett

–                  Premier NASCAR Engine Builder with 77 wins (1967-1988)

–                  1983 NASCAR Championship Engine Builder with Bobby Allison

–                  NASCAR Engine Builder for Richard Petty’s 199th and 200th win

–                  Daytona 500 Engine Builder and NASCAR Team Owner- 1969, 1982, 1992, 1996, 2000

–                  3 time Winning Daytona 500 NASCAR Team Owner – 1992, 1996, 2000

–                  2 time Winning Brickyard 400 NASCAR Team Owner – 1996, 1999

–                  57 Wins and 48 Poles as a NASCAR Team Owner

–                  NASCAR HALL OF FAME nominee


–                  2018 NASCAR HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

–                  2007 recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award for lifetime achievement in NASCAR

–                  2010 recipient of the Bruton Smith Legends Award

–                  2000 Bill France Award of Excellence

–                  Inducted into NASCAR Auto Racing Hall of Fame

–                  Inducted into NMPA Hall of Fame

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