DEARBORN - Robert Yates did it all during a career that began at Holman Moody in the 1960s and ended with being voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this past May.
Unfortunately, he won’t be able to deliver his induction speech in January after passing away Monday night following a year-long battle with cancer.
“Robert Yates knew the value of hard work and earned everything he achieved in life. Not only was Robert a legendary engine builder and championship car owner, but he was a husband, father, grandfather and loyal Ford man who left an unmeasurable impact on those who knew him,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “He was a respected and valued member of the Ford family and co-founder of Roush Yates Engines, and while we’ll miss the wisdom he possessed for working on engines and race cars, we will miss his caring demeanor and friendship even more.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Robert’s wife, Carolyn, his two children, Doug and Amy, and his eight grandchildren.”
Ford Motor Company Board of Directors Member Edsel B. Ford II said those in the company were collectively saddened to learn of Yates' passing.
"Robert, by any measure, was a valued and respected member of our family," Ford said. "His many accomplishments included winning the NASCAR championship in 1999 and being selected for the class of 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame. I am proud to have been a part of both of those events but most meaningful to me was our friendship which spanned over 20 years.
"First and foremost an engine guy, Robert will be remembered as a person who helped build the sport with dedication and hard work. His legacy at NASCAR will be defined by his roles as an engine builder, championship team owner, co-founder of Roush Yates Engines and ultimately by the innovation that he brought to all of these endeavors and more.
"Much like my great-grandfather, Henry Ford, Robert was a tinkerer. They both leave behind a legion of admirers and friends who benefited from their mentorship and their passion.
"We at Ford offer our sincere condolences to Robert's wife Carolyn, his son Doug, daughter Amy and his eight grandchildren."
Yates was part of the legendary Holman Moody Ford organization that helped David Pearson win back-to-back Cup championships in 1968 and 1969. He built the engine that carried Richard Petty to his 200th career victory in front of President Ronald Reagan in 1984 before becoming a car owner in 1988. He turned Robert Yates Racing into a powerhouse that won the Daytona 500 three times and captured the 1999 series championship with driver Dale Jarrett.
Yates, who groomed his son, Doug, in the family business, merged his engine operation with fellow Ford owner Jack Roush in 2004 to form Roush Yates Engines, which has served as the main engine supplier for all Ford teams in NASCAR. The organization has since produced two Cup championships and 113 series victories.