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Thu, 27 Sep 2001, 05:40 AM

Jim Yates Medical Update
Courtesy of David Ferroni

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Jim Yates, who underwent angioplasty surgery Monday for a blocked artery, is scheduled to be released Thursday from the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. The NHRA Pro Stock driver will go directly to Joliet, Ill., site of this weekend's NHRA national event at Route 66 Raceway. A decision on whether he will compete in the event will be made later in the week.

Yates, 48, was hospitalized last Saturday after he became ill following his No. 1 qualifying run at the AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.

As he was making preparations to leave the hospital Yates said, "I feel awesome and am looking forward to being in Joliet this weekend. Regarding my driving status, we'll just take it day-by-day. The only thing I know for sure is that Rickie Smith will be driving one of the team's SplitFire/PEAK Pontiac Grand Ams. I had a wake up call and am very thankful for the excellent medical care I received from the hospital staff, especially chief cardiologist Dr. Kevin Newman. I also want to thank the NHRA Safety Safari and Dr. Jerry Torstveit for the medical assistance I received at the track."

Yates, a two-time NHRA Winston champion (1996 &1997), is currently in second place in the Pro Stock season standings. The Alexandria, Va. driver trails Warren Johnson by 76 points or four rounds of competition. There are five races and 20 rounds of competition remaining.

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