DEARBORN - There are some significant nominees with Ford Motor Company ties on the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot this year, and the Hall has invited fans to help select who will be inducted into the next class.
Among those on the ballot are current Ford team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske; Robert Yates, co-founder of Roush Yates Engines and the 1999 NASCAR champion team owner for Ford; 1992 NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki; 19-time Ford Cup winner Davey Allison; Buddy Baker, who had 19 wins for a variety of teams including Bud Moore and the Wood Brothers; two-time champion engine-builder for David Pearson in 1968-69 with Holman-Moody, Waddell Wilson; and Ricky Rudd, the sport's Iron Man, who had 23 wins in more than 900 starts, including his own team, Bud Moore and the Wood Brothers.
For the next four weeks, we will be highlighting each of these nominees and some of their Ford achievements. Fans are encouraged to go to the NASCAR Hall of Fame website to vote between now and May 22.
We continue this week with Robert Yates.
Robert Yates has been called a genius for his ability as an engine-builder to squeeze out every ounce of horsepower. Like fellow Hall of Fame Nominee Waddell Wilson, Yates got his NASCAR start with Ford’s top factory-backed team of Holman-Moody in 1968. He carved out a career that saw him build the engine that took Richard Petty to his record 200th and final Cup victory at Daytona in 1984, but then added the title of owner a few years later when he bought the Ford team of Harry Ranier at the end of the 1988 season.
Yates won two times in his first season as owner with driver Davey Allison in 1989, and, not surprisingly, they came at a pair of tracks where power ruled – Daytona and Talladega. Those two superspeedways were an emphasis for Yates and it paid off in the sum of nine combined wins. Overall, Robert Yates Racing won 57 Cup races, including the Daytona 500 three times, Brickyard 400 twice and Coca-Cola 600 two times.
In 1999, he led NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett to the series championship after winning four times and posting 29 Top-10 finishes in 34 starts. The championship was Ford’s sixth overall and first since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
Additional 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees: