home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 19, 2018

Edsel Ford

Dale Jarrett

Brad Keselowski

Robert Yates

Charlotte, North Carolina

BRAD KESELOWSKI: The engine is the heartbeat of a race car. It unleashes the power that fuels the sport and thus the fan base. No one created that power from scratch better than this inductee. He was a duel threat and a darned good team owner, along with being a legendary engine builder, too. As a championship owner, he won with Dale Jarrett the 1999 NASCAR championship, and tonight he's going to add a really, really big award, the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately we lost Mr.Robert just a few months ago after a courageous battle with liver cancer. But before he passed, he wrote his acceptance speech. Tonight we have the honor of seeing that together. Voiced by his championship‑winning driver of both the 1999 championship and the Daytona 500, here it is, my friend Dale Jarrett. Here are his words.
ROBERT YATES (As read by Dale Jarrett): When I started in racing, this was not the goal. All I wanted to do throughout my career was win races. I would always say, I don't race for the money, I race to win. For me, that's what it's always been about, but to be part of this year's induction class is a true honor. There are a lot of other people I want to thank because this isn't really about me; it's about those who gave me the opportunity to do something I love.
I want to thank Bill France Jr. He loaded me up with wisdom through the years, and while some of our conversations were tough, he taught me things about this sport that were invaluable. And Edsel Ford and Ford Motor Company, when you get to know people like Edsel, you realize that you're always part of the Ford family, and that means a lot.
Working in the Holman Moody engine shop turned out to be the best education I could ever ask for. We worked day and night, but if it wasn't for people like Jack Sullivan, John Holman, and Ralph Moody, I wouldn't have developed the skills I needed.
Junior Johnson is a man of few words, but I'll never forget, we were at Charlotte Motor Speedway one day, and he looked me straight in the eye and said, "Robert, I've got to have you." We worked out a deal where he basically allowed me to run my own shop, and nobody appreciated what I did during that time more than him. So Junior, thank you.
I learned what it was like to run a race team in 1976, when I took over as general manager for DiGard Racing. I worked with Hall of Famers like Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison and had 10 great years there. The Allisons have been a big part of my life. I won a championship with Bobby in 1983 at DiGard, and then got to work with Davey, who was always so positive. When I bought Harry Ranier Racing, I knew other people wanted to hire him, so we talked about it, and he said to me, "Robert, I'll always work for you. You don't ever have to worry about me."
Losing Davey was painful. We shed a lot of tears and didn't know how we would move on, but we did. As NASCAR started to move to more multi‑car teams, Ford approached me about running the Quality Care car in 1995. I never liked the idea of two cars. Dale Earnhardt Sr. and I always talked about how, until they made two places for cars in Victory Lane, you only need one. So I wasn't fond of running a second team, but it worked out well.
We hired Dale Jarrett on a handshake deal done at the Raceway Grill in Darlington. We didn't sign a contract until several months later. Todd Parrott came on as crew chief, and everything just clicked. We won the Daytona 500 in 1996 in our first race together, and then won the championship in 1999. It was a special time in my life with a special group of people. So to you, Dale, Todd, and everyone who worked at Robert Yates racing or in our engine shop, you have my deepest appreciation.
I'm also extremely blessed to have my assistant Kristi Jones. She's meant so much to me and our family. To this point, I've talked about some of the people who have made a difference in my career, but none of that would have been possible if it wasn't for the people who made a difference in my life: My family.
My brothers and sisters were all good students, but I didn't care about going to school. I was the only kid in my family that didn't make straight A's. That's when my sister, Martha Brady, stepped in. I moved from Charlotte to Wake Forest and lived with her. She told me what classes I was going to take, and that was the first time I studied and made straight A's. My sister Doris Roberts talked to me about going to Wilson Tech, and that was the best two years of school I ever had. I loved physics and geometry. So if it wasn't for my two sisters, I don't know where I'd be today.
Another person I want to thank is my twin brother, Richard Yates. He's been a big part of my life, and I love him dearly.
When I was working for Junior Johnson, I would take Doug to the shop. He was still in diapers, but the floor was clean, so I would put him down there, and he would sort out nuts and bolts. He could sort them out and put them all in the right bin. I knew he was destined for a career in racing. Little did I know that would include working side by side with him for 20 years. Doug, I couldn't be prouder of the man you are today. I love you.
I used to give Amy rides on my dirt bike when she was only two years old. She would sit in front of me and laugh and hold the handlebars and say, "faster, Dad, faster." She's a great mom to her four kids and the sweetest daughter a dad could ever ask for. Amy, you're my baby doll, and I love you. Doug and Amy have given Carolyn and I eight wonderful grandkids. Your futures are bright, and I love each of you dearly.
It's been 51 years since I took a four‑day leave from the Army and made the best decision of my life: I married Carolyn. She's been by my side ever since and has supported me every step of the way. I worked all hours of the day and night, but she never called to say, get home. She let me work.
Carolyn, I don't know where the time has gone, but it seems like yesterday we were in a one‑bedroom apartment trying to make ends meet. You're the light of my life. You've always been there for me, particularly this past year. Your devotion reminded me of our vows: In sickness and in health. And I love you.
I never prayed to win a race. I just prayed for the wisdom to help me make good decisions. My creator didn't always give me what I asked for, but he gave me more than I deserved. I thank you for this great honor. Good night, and God bless.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Here to induct Robert Yates into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, please welcome from the Ford motor company board of directors Edsel B. Ford II.
EDSEL FORD: Well, first of all, I'd like to thank Dale Jarrett for an absolutely magnificent job. I was in the back, and it brought tears to my eyes, so thank you very much.
Well, it's now my pleasure to introduce the family to help induct Robert Yates into the Hall of Fame. I'd like to welcome from the Yates family, Carolyn and Doug Yates and Amy Yates Carrick.
So this is not protocol, and I apologize for not lining everyone up the way they should be lined up, but I've known the Yates family for a really long time, and I want to tell you one quick story because I think it speaks a lot about Robert. I called Doug one day on the telephone, and I said, Doug, how you doing, and he said, well, everything is fine and my dad is here and things are fine, and I said, well, what's Robert doing. He said, well, he's back in the shop tinkering, and I thought to myself, if there was ever something that Robert Yates liked to do, it was to be back in the shop tinkering.
So it's now my honor on this 19th day of January, 2018, to present the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee ring and officially induct Robert Yates into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Q. I echo what Edsel said. I think everybody in here, amazing job reading Robert's words. Easier or harder to read because he wrote those words?
DALE JARRETT: You know, it was an honor for the Yates family to ask me to do that and to be a part. It was a very difficult thing to do. A number of reads before I could get through it, as you could imagine.
This was someone that we could have spent the entire two hours talking about how special of a man and hard worker Robert Yates was. He's exactly what this Hall of Fame is about, that type of person that started at the bottom, worked his way to the top, and there's nobody that's been as good as him ever in this business, and speaking strictly from a personal standpoint, I look at this, that I wish he could have been the one going in in 2014. It would have only been fitting that he was in here in the Hall of Fame before I was, and we could have heard that speech from his mouth and in his words, but I was honored to do that, and when I look at it and think about it, a lot of us drivers were fortunate to drive for Robert and Doug Yates and the Yates family and what they've meant to me. But in my case, he took an average driver that had a huge heart and a huge desire to win and made me think that I could do extraordinary things, and I'm appreciative of that and the opportunity that he gave me to win races and a championship, and a special night for the Yates family.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297