Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Robert Yates no longer a "Dead Man Walking"

Coming up on the last race of the season, I found myself to be depressed and ‘out of sorts.’ Not because it was my last free weekend before entering into six weeks of retail hell. Not because we were coming up on the last race weekend of the season. And certainly, not because it seemed the whole world of NASCAR wants to hand Jimmie Johnson the trophy right there, on the spot, before the race. (It didn't matter whether Jimmie deserved it, I was cranky over the presumption of the win!)

No, I was morose over the apparent (at that time) demise of Robert Yates Racing. Depending on the web site, or the writer, we were prepared to witness the advent of DEI buying into, part of, or all of the Yates operation . The stories were full of speculation that, since Yates had struggled most of the season to find a sponsor, the DEI deal was his last hope. Everyone in the media agreed it was sad, as Yates was a staple in the garage. Over and over, we heard the timeline of this year’s defection of the Yates drivers and sponsors. In fact, we had been hearing the rumors for months of different drivers coming to Yates, such as Mark Martin, Johnny Sauter, Robby Gordon, Jacques Villanueve, and a cast of thousands.

Not only was I sad, I was very peeved at the former Yates drivers. When Dale Jarrett left, he left to go to a new gig where there was huge money being offered. Yates could not match that, but I felt that Jarrett was the beginning of turning Robert into “Dead Man Walking.” When Sadler then broke his contract and bolted to a ‘better ride,’ I felt shocked and stunned! For all of the time Sadler was declaring his loyatly to Yates, he was already in contract negotiations for a move to Evernham. In my mind, if Jarret sent Yates to 'Death Row" then Sadler was "The Executioner!"

The hiring of David Gilliland was one ray of hope. He was showing progress as a driver, but with all of the rumors swirling around, I was afraid he was going to be the driver of the only car in the organization. In today's NASCAR, that would have made David's struggle to succeed to be almost insurmountable.

Suddenly, before my eyes, I saw Robert go from Dead Man Walking, to Man on the Move. The announcement that RYR had a new sponsor perked him up, and made me feel like there was a huge light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Now, last weekend saw an announcement by Sporting News writer, Lee Spencer. In this link, we will see that it appears certain that Ricky Rudd will be a full-time driver for Yates. While this article as of yet has been unconfirmed, it appears that Mars is sponsoring a second car for Yates, and that Rudd may be driving the 28.

The internet is rife with discussion of the potential value of Rudd to the Yates organization. I personally have nothing against Rudd, and found him to be fan friendly and pleasant. Hopefully, when the official announcements are made, we will have a better picture of the future.

But, since the historic team of Robert Yates Racing will be around a few more years, I am happy. Thank you to Mars, thank you to Ricky and to David Gilliland, and Thank YOU, Robert, for escaping from the Dead Man's Walk.

2 comments:

okla21fan said...

As long as Rudd doesn't mail it in, like Dj did the last half of the season, then i will be happy for RYR.

Gvav1 said...

Very nice blog!

RYR has potential in 2007, but it's a roll of the dice regarding how Ricky or Gilligan will perform.