Brock Yates: 1933-2016

LeeRoy Yarbrough/Brock Yates - NASCAR Daytona 1966

DAYTONA BEACH, FL — February 1966: Motorsports journalist Brock Yates (R) with driver LeeRoy Yarbrough on pit road at Daytona International Speedway. Yarbrough drove Jon Thorne’s Dodge Charger to an eighth place finish in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup race. (Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images; used courtesy Jalopnik)

Some of today’s younger readers may not be familiar with Brock Yates. Indeed, I first became aware of him through his editor’s column in Car & Driver, at first unaware of just what a legend he was to the automotive and racing community.

brock-yatesBut Yates was far more than a purveyor of written wit and sarcasm. As one headline noting his passing declared, Yates truly was “a hero to everyone who ever loved great cars and great adventure.” The Korean-era Navy veteran’s decades-long career included stints as a race commentator, an author and, even as an online auto blogger. Still others will remember him as the scoff-law whose genius created the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. (The Cannonball’s zany history were the inspiration for a pair of hilarious, if low-rent films starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLouise in the 1980s.)

Autoweek cited the cause of death as complications of Alzheimer’s. STJ’s prayers go out for Yates’ family.

 

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