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NASCAR champion engine builder, owner Robert Yates dies at 74

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The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Robert Yates, a pioneering NASCAR owner and engine builder who with Dale Jarrett won the 1999 Cup Series title, has died at 74. He was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May and will be inducted this winter.

Yates had liver cancer, and son Doug Yates announced the death late Monday on Twitter.

"He was a leader and inspired everyone around him to do their best and to take it to a new level," Doug Yates said in a post by Roush Yates Engines. Roush Yates also posted to its social media accounts that Yates died "surrounded by his family and loved ones."

Robert Yates Racing won 57 races and 48 poles. Yates was a noted engine builder who helped guide Bobby Allison to the 1983 Cup title, earning Daytona 500 victories for Davey Allison in 1992 and Jarrett in 1996 and 2000.

"First and foremost an engine guy, Robert will be remembered as a person who helped build the sport with dedication and hard work," said Edsel B. Ford II, a board member at Ford Motor Co. "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."

FILE - In this May 24, 2017, file photo, former team owner Robert Yates, left, is congratulated by Winston Kelley, right, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, after being named as a member of the class of 2018 during an announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. Yates, a longtime NASCAR owner and engine builder, has died, his son Doug Yates said on Twitter Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. He was 74. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)AP
FILE - In this May 24, 2017, file photo, former team owner Robert Yates, left, is congratulated by Winston Kelley, right, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, after being named as a member of the class of 2018 during an announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. Yates, a longtime NASCAR owner and engine builder, has died, his son Doug Yates said on Twitter Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. He was 74. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
AP

Yates' son took over Roush Yates Engines, which powered Kurt Busch to the Daytona 500 victory in February. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also drove Yates engines to victories at Talladega and Daytona this year.

Tony Stewart, who moved Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford and Yates engines this season, said the sport "lost one of the most inventive minds and kindest personalities." The team honored Yates with a throwback paint scheme on Danica Patrick's car in the Southern 500.

"I'm glad I got to know him and proud our race team was able to honor him this year at Darlington," Stewart said. "He leaves a strong legacy that is carried on by his son, Doug, and all of their employees at Roush Yates Engines."