Restructuring Begins At RYR
May 23, 2006 | 9:30 P.M. EST
“We are re-evaluating the way we are doing business from the top down,” Yates said. “This is a performance-based business and we have to evaluate the performance of where our cars are now. That begins with understanding our cars.”
Since RYR opened its doors for business in 1989, the organization has a combined 57 wins, 267 top-five and 419 top-10 finishes in more than 919 starts. The organization secured the 1999 NASCAR championship with driver Dale Jarrett and has placed at least one driver in the top 10 in the point standings, in 10 out of the 17 years they’ve been competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, and from 1996 until 2001 has a driver in the top five of the final point standings. Since that time, however, they have placed drivers in the top 10 only twice with Jarrett finishing ninth in 2002 and Elliott Sadler finishing ninth in 2004.
“Right now we are a victim of our own success,” Yates said. “For so many years we were successful with the formula we used to run this team. We stayed small and didn’t grow as fast as the technology in the sport has grown. What worked five years ago doesn’t work now. We know we’ve fallen behind in that respect.”
“Our goal is to figure out a technical direction and find the right people to lead that direction,” he continued. “This isn’t a quick fix and it is going to be a process for us. This decision is a first step in the evaluation process.”
Yates’ NEXTEL Cup teams, the No. 88 UPS Team and the No. 38 M&M’S Team, are currently 12th and 15th in the point standings, respectively. RYR also fields the No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series with Sadler sharing seat time with development drivers Stephen Leicht and Matt McCall. Doug Yates, head engine builder for RYR and son of Robert Yates, attributes the fact that the teams are in the top 15 in the point standings to the diligence of current RYR team members.
“We know we have good people that work for us,” the younger Yates said. “Despite what may appear as a lack of performance we have our teams sitting 12th and 15th in the point standings and that’s because we have people that are good at their respective jobs. We haven’t had the part failures whether it is the brakes, shocks, whatever and it’s because of the efforts of the individuals who work in those respective departments. We need to let the key people we have in place perform the jobs for which they were hired and have faith in their talents and abilities.”
Doug Yates also said the decision to make a change at the management level is a result of the Yates family reasserting themselves as the managers of their family-owned business. One of the first actions the team is taking is moving Raymond Fox, III back to the NEXTEL Cup shop where he will work with the No. 38 M&M’S Team and serve as a liaison between the Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series teams.
“Raymond is very key to our organization,” Yates said. “The Busch program is important to us but we need his help elsewhere in the company and right now that is at the Cup shop where he’s worked since we started this organization.”
“Eddie (D’Hondt) did a good job for us,” he said. “But this is our company and Robert and I have decided we need to get our arms around our company. We’re not happy with where we’re at as a race team. We need to reassert key people including ourselves.”