Race Car Team Lowers Costs By Using Durable Welder
March 1, 2007
Robert Yates Racing relies on a wealth of Miller TIG, MIG and plasma cutting equipment to keep its cars on the track.
Around the time that racing's resurgence hit its stride, Robert Yates bought his team and moved it to an 11,000 sq. ft. facility in Charlotte, N.C. Yates operated the entire racing operation there - from the motor room and engine shop to the company offices. Eleven years later, that building still stands - with an additional 11,000 sq. ft. attached. In the span of three years, 1989 to 1992, Yates added a 4,000 sq. ft. body shop and a 7,500 sq. ft. motor room and engine shop.
In 1996, Yates decided to add the 88 team. The decision called for more expansion, and another 47,000 sq. ft. building was added to the existing facility. "The past three years have been pretty exciting for Yates Racing," says Richard Yates, business manager, Robert Yates Racing. "We brought in the 88 car, we nearly lost a great driver in Ernie Irvan, we added Kenny (Irwin) and Dale (Jarrett), and we have seen our facility triple in size. There isn't a whole lot that could top that scenario."
The Price of Racing Winston Cup
Putting winning cars on the track every week is not an easy task, especially with the skyrocketing prices of racing a car and keeping it maintained. When tires for a race at Rockingham exceed a $20,000 price tag per car, it puts into perspective the millions of dollars spent every year to bring the high speed action to race fans. It also explains the need for drivers' suits and cars to be adorned with so many sponsor tags.
Robert Yates Racing has learned that - when and where they can - minimizing expenses is imperative. That is not to say it sacrifices quality. In fact, Yates Racing prides itself on the high caliber products it uses in its shop. Yates Racing has learned that purchasing time-tested products lowers expenses. A prime example of how the durability of a product has cut end costs is Yates' fleet of Miller Electric Mfg. Co. welders.
Yates Racing primarily uses the Miller Syncrowave® 250 AC/DC TIG welder and the Millermatic® 185 MIG welder. Other products used in Yates shops are the Aerowave® AC/DC TIG welder, the Dynasty™ 300 DX AC/DC TIG welder, the Millermatic® 130 XP MIG welder, and the Spectrum® 300 CutMate™ plasma cutter.
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 1999, Miller Electric Manufacturing Company (Appleton, Wis.), has been involved with Yates Racing since day one. The union between the two has helped Yates Racing produce 37 victories on the Winston Cup Racing Circuit.
"Miller welders have played a big part in the success of Yates Racing," says Gil Kerley, Yates chief fabricator. "Our fabricators use them on the chassis and the engines. Our welders use them to make repairs and fine-tune the car's exterior. They provide the glue, so to speak, that holds our cars together."
In the past eleven years, Yates has built a behind-the-scenes welding team that stacks up against any other team on the Winston Cup Circuit. Fabricators and welders are ultimately responsible for making the cars run week after week. At Robert Yates Racing, nearly 100 people work to ensure success every time it puts a car on the track by building engines, controlling chassis, and repairing dings, dents and entire car bodies.
"We are determined to make sure that the work we are doing in the shop shows up on race day," Kerley says. "Our job is to consistently put the best car on the track."
The Yates crew knows that with rising costs of maintaining a good car, they must use equipment and materials that promote a long life span for the car. Though sponsors are responsible for a large portion of the $10 to 12 million that it takes to operate a car per season, they can not cover all of the costs, especially those that Yates incurs behind garage doors.
"There are many hidden costs that accumulate after a race," Kerley says. "The dents are visible, so we estimate those costs right away. Our biggest concerns lie in the structural makeup. These automobiles take quite a beating during a race and we have to make sure that we find all problems that may have occurred to the frame and chassis before that car can race again.
"Miller products help to keep us at the forefront of racing's resurgence by keeping our costs down," Kerley says. "With the huge sums of money being spent on each race, it is good to know that our trusted Miller products will be waiting at the garage for years to come."
2002 Miller Electric Mfg. Co