Robert Yates honored by friends and family for his birthday

Roush Yates Engines threw a party today in honor of company founder Robert Yates, who celebrates his 73rd birthday on April 19.

One of the greatest engine builders in NASCAR history, Yates built an engine business that today, under son Dougs tutelage, builds the power plants for Ford Motor Co.s NASCAR teams.

The elder Yates began his career at Holman-Moody Racing in 1968 and three years later moved on to work with NASCAR Hall of Fame member Junior Johnson.

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As an engine builder, Yates built the engines that powered Bobby Allison to a Premier Series championship in 1983 with DiGard Racing.

In the late 1980s, Yates launched his own team, Robert Yates Racing. In 21 years as a NASCAR Premier Series team owner, Robert Yates won 57 races and had 49 poles. In 1999, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett won the championship driving the No. 88 Robert Yates Racing Ford Thunderbird. Yates won three Daytona 500s as a car owner, the first with Davey Allison and the next two with Jarrett.

Yates and Allison are among the 20 nominees from whom five individuals will be selected for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

Since November, Yates has been undergoing treatment for liver cancer.

We at send along our birthday congratulations, along with our wishes for a full recovery to Yates.

. @DaleJarrett "Robert's call in 1995 for me to come drive for him changed my life.." #BirthdaysatRoushYates

— Roush Yates Engines (@roushyates) April 18, 2017

Mike Helton calls @robertyates28 his "hero." #BirthdaysatRoushYates

— Roush Yates Engines (@roushyates) April 18, 2017

Reuniting of legends @roushyates today celebrating my Dad's birthday.

— Doug Yates (@Yates_Doug) April 18, 2017

Great picture of my parents. Married for over 50 years! @robertyates28

— Doug Yates (@Yates_Doug) April 13, 2017