Legendary NASCAR pioneer and championship car owner Robert Yates has died at 74 after battling liver cancer for nearly a year. His son, Doug Yates made the announcement Monday.
My Dad and Hero, Robert Yates, has passed and is with the Lord. Thanks for all the prayers and support. pic.twitter.com/hxa0wfdZkE— Doug Yates (@Yates_Doug) October 3, 2017
Months after his initial diagnosis, Yates was informed that he would be inducted as part of the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. As an owner, Yates won the 1999 Cup Series title with fellow hall inductee Dale Jarrett. Before eventually turning Robert Yates Racing over to his son Doug in 2007, Yates compiled 77 premier series wins including three Daytona 500s.
Yates was a devoted and talented engine builder who worked the early part of his career in Junior Johnson's garage. He went on to build Bobby Allison's 1983 championship engine. He purchased Robert Yates Racing in 1988, which in 2010 merged with fellow NASCAR legend Richard Petty's team, Richard Petty Motorsports, which is home to popular drivers Aric Almirola and Darrell Wallace Jr. Doug Yates currently owns Roush Yates Engines, which powers the Ford Fusions in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
In addition to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he earned the Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000 and also received the Buddy Shuman Award for Lifetime Achievement in NASCAR in 2007.
The NASCAR community reacted to Yates' death on Twitter.
"From the very first day I walked into the Robert Yates Racing shop I learned that Robert knew every aspect and detail of his shop from the broom handle to board room," Jarrett said after being elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "Robert Yates was the smartest person in the racing industry"