Veteran engine builder and Pro Stock legend Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins doesn't resemble Santa Claus, but he has what Jim Yates would like for Christmas - more horsepower for his Pontiac GTO NHRA Pro Stock entry.
Yates was impressed with the results of a two-day test session at Bradenton, Fla., that had Jenkins' motors tucked snugly under his GTO's hood.
"We ran really, really well, considering the air (atmospheric conditions) wasn't ideal," said Yates. "The temperature was in the 70s and that slowed us probably two-to-three hundredths (of a second). We had a great time working with Bill."
The outing provided Yates with career best numbers - 6.662 seconds and 207.30 mph - and perhaps a glimpse at who will be supplying his engines when the 2006 POWERade Series launches its 23-race schedule at Pomona, Calif., Feb. 9-12.
The pre-season agenda that began soon after the Auto Club Finals (Nov. 6) includes addressing the engine situation, securing sponsorship and more testing. The team needs the test laps on the GTO to expand its tune-up dossier for the ultra-competitive campaign that lies ahead.
"We've had sponsorship discussions with a company and we hope to have something to announce in the near future," added Yates, a two-time Pro Stock champion (1996-97) with 13 top 10 finishes in the last 15 seasons. "And we'll be talking with Bill to see if we can work out an agreement.
"We're anxious to get everything done so we can concentrate on getting ready to race. We've been working on the car, trying to get it back to brand new. It only has six races on it, but we needed to go through it and get ready for a full season."
In Yates family news away from the track, Jamie Yates, Jim and Toni's oldest son and the team crew chief, married Cynthy Alsup last month and Jim spent four whirlwind days signing autographs for injured U.S. Military personnel in Germany.
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