Q&A with Doug Yates Even though both of his cars were victims of accidents at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, it has still been a pretty good week for Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates. The team has signed Paul Menard as a third driver for the 2009 season and is coming off a pole run with Travis Kvapil at Talladega. Yates spoke about his team's progress.
DOUG YATES, Co-Owner, Yates Racing Ford Fusions
IT'S BEEN A GOOD WEEK FOR YATES RACING. "It's been a great week for Yates Racing. Max Jones and myself have worked hard to try to get Yates Racing back in a position where we would be competitive week-in and week-out and I feel very good about the job that we've done this year and getting re-established. This last week with signing Paul Menard as a driver for our organization and bringing the Menards sponsorship over as well is huge. We'll look back and probably say that was one of the moments that helped us take it to the next level where we want to be. We're all looking forward to next year. We've got a great group of young, talented drivers with Paul coming aboard, and Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland. It really gives us a lot to look forward to in the future as far as our driver lineup. And then coming down to Talladega, which I think everybody knows how much I enjoy coming to these races and to have the 28 car back on the pole at Talladega is really special to me. It started with Davey Allison and the things that we did out here with him, and then Ernie Irvan and all the history behind that car number and this race track makes it a very special day. It really gets you excited about just being part of this sport and doing what we do every week and re- energizes our organization and gets everybody's morale up. It's a great time for Yates Racing right now."
SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T THINK YOU COULD GO THE WHOLE YEAR WITHOUT PRIMARY SPONSORS. WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE? "I think a lot of people were waiting to see if we were gonna make it and to see if we were for real. When we set out to do this, we knew it was gonna be a long road as far as getting it back to where we wanted to be and we didn't really get started until December 1st. It was a whole new organization. We moved our shop from Mooresville to Concord and re-hired some existing people and hired some new people, so a lot of credit goes to Max Jones and the hard work he's done on the race team side of things and the never-give-up attitude that he's had. Everybody that has been involved, including all of our crew members, believed in what we wanted to do and were willing to come over and take a chance on guys that went to Daytona with sponsoryates.com on the side of the car. That was tough. Some of the tougher days were when we had to run white cars or just trying to get through. Max and I have a lot at stake, but a lot to look forward to as well. We have a vision of where we want to be and we just have to stick to it and be persistent about being a part of this sport and being around. I can't say enough for Ford Motor Company and what their belief in our organization has been. You have to have some people cheering for you and supporting you and Ford has been one of those that has helped us keep going when we didn't know. It kind of goes back to when my dad started the team in 1988 with the support and encouragement of Ford and some sponsorship with Texaco kind of got him going. From there he just worked and had a dream of where he wanted to be and that's kind of what Max and myself are doing right now. We want to try to get our organization to the top level in this sport and it's not easy. Some days are harder than others, but when you have days like we had at Talladega and sitting on the pole, it just reminds you why you're doing this and really gives you some hope for better days to come. We've had some bright days this year. David finishing second at Sears Point was huge and Travis' run at Talladega in the first race when he finished sixth was great, and some other things we've done have been really good, but then there have been some tough days. Nobody is here to run 20th or 30th. We're all here to win, but, unfortunately, it takes time to build that and that's what's hard to see from the outside because you don't just decide you want to run a race team and, all of a sudden, put trophies on the shelf. This is a tough sport. It's the most competitive motorsport in the world and to be able to come down here and do some special things is great, but it's still a building process. I think we can see where it's going and the people behind us - our sponsors that have come aboard this year and Ford Motor Company - can see where we want to be, so I think we can get to where we want to go."
Doug Yates (L) with his father Robert Yates at the Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing announcement that soon became unraveled
IS THE ECONOMY THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU'RE FACING RIGHT NOW? "I think early on it was the perception of what Yates Racing is all about. Is it Robert Yates Racing? Is it Doug Yates Racing? What is it and what does that mean? I think that was a hurdle we were trying to get over the first part of the year and then I think the economy after quarter one has probably affected it more than what we all would imagine. This is the worst economy since the Great Depression in a lot of ways, but the U.S. economy and the world economy is resilient and strong and the NASCAR market and what NASCAR does for sponsors is incredible. You look at the fan loyalty and the reason why people sponsor cars is because it works. So even as bad as things can be and as bad a picture as we could all paint, there's a lot of value added in the NASCAR sponsorship proposition. It would be real easy to use that as an excuse, and, yeah, that is part of it, but if we can go out and perform and do our job and know that the companies that come aboard with us can get a return on their investment, we'll be fine. Ford Motor Company needs to sell cars. Academy Sports & Outdoors needs to drive traffic to their stores. Hitachi needs to sell power tools and if we can do that for these companies, that's where it starts and ends. If we can prove that we can add value to the companies that are with Yates Racing, then whether it's a good economy or a bad economy, it's a good value for those who come on board." Ford Racing
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