Yates Shop takes on family atmosphere

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- "There's been more talk about family the last few months than the whole first few years of my racing career," said new Robert Yates Racing driver Elliott Sadler on day one of the 2003 UAW-GM Motorsports Media Tour.
   While Sadler has been brought into the fold at the shops where have produced 53 NASCAR Winston Cup wins, the driver of the No. 38 M&M Candies Ford, finds himself a minority among the key figures with the organization.
   You see, Sadler is the lone top-ranking member of the Yates organization outside of team owner Robert Yates, who isn't a second or third generation Winston Cup racer.
   His teammate, Dale Jarrett is not only the 1999 Winston Cup Champion, but also the son of two-time NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett. The driver of the No. 88 UPS Ford, Jarrett says that the continued involvement of generations in the sport is a good sign for the Yates team.
   "That's the best thing when you talk about families that have been in this sport," said Jarrett. "We have a lot of that here. That's exciting for me that they continue to work in this sport, because they have seen it be good to their families. You know the people who are like that are real racers.
   "Regardless of all the talk about engineers and all the specialized people that you have to have, we have those people who want to race, who live and breath racing. The people who have been around it their whole life, they've seen all the good things and the bad things in racing."
   Yates has turned over most of the daily functions of running the team to his own son Doug, who formerly held the title of engine builder.
   One of Doug's first moves was to promote another second-generation racer Todd Parrott, son of legendary mechanic Buddy Parrott, from crew chief up to a team manager role. The second move was to put Parrott's brother Brad into the old role as crew chief for Jarrett.
   "I'm excited about working with him," said Todd Parrott about the decision to make his younger brother a crew chief. "I'm looking forward to working with both Brad and Dale in the role that I'm in. I'm pretty excited about the situation."
   Added Brad Parrott about his older brother: "He's focused and I know where his focus comes from. I know what he's thinking and I know what his next move is. I have Doug and Todd to go to in my situation. We took things off of Todd's shoulders and put a lot of it on my shoulders.
   "We all get this from Buddy Parrott. We miss him (being involved in the sport). We might to call him to come back here later this year."
   Also new in a Winston Cup crew chief role is Sadler's new pit boss, Raymond Fox III. He is the only one of the group who lays claim to being a third-generation racer. His grandfather was a former car owner for legendary NASCAR star David Pearson and his father was a mechanic alongside the elder Yates at DiGard Racing.
   "Todd and Brad and I all grew up together," explained Fox. "My dad and Buddy were really good friends and he worked with Robert for 10 years before Robert got the No. 28 car. I'm excited to work with Todd and Brad."
   His grandfather was also a big influence on the young Fox, as he and Pearson won together in their first ever attempt at Charlotte. He hopes to duplicate that feat a few weeks from now with Sadler in Daytona.
   "I've learned so much stuff from my grandfather," said Fox. "It's hard to put it all into words. My dad always taught me to work hard and try to be the best in everything you can and that's what I have done. I really like the opportunity to work with Elliott. He has a good attitude and I think things can work out good."
   For his part, Doug Yates thinks the timing is right for the new generation to show they have the talent to match their fathers' success.
   "I think the time has come where all of this group of guys came up," said Yates. It is kind of funny how it all has shaken out. I knew Brad was going to make it in the sport and I wanted him to make it here. I'm trying to care of the role of making all the calls and giving Robert some time to enjoy life."