Watch Jim Yates Literally Steal One From Darrell Alderman In 1994 – Greatest Holeshot Ever?

Watch Jim Yates Literally Steal One From Darrell Alderman In 1994 – Greatest Holeshot Ever?

There is a lot of win in this video, especially if you are a hardcore drag racing fan. Why? There are the people involved, the strategy involved, and the technology involved, all of which were played like a fiddle by one guy in this film and that guy is Jim Yates. Yates is still around on the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing tour but rather than driving he is wrenching and tuning on cars these days. He’s a former Pro Stock world champion who definitely knows his way around the track, he also knows when he is outgunned and needs to pull out the bag of tricks, judging by this video.

To set the scene, Yates is lined up next to Darrell Alderman during pro stock eliminations at the NHRA Northwest Nationals in 1994. Alderman has about a tenth of a second on Yates with regard to previous performance that weekend and Yates certainly knew that. A tenth is a massive amount in a pro stock car. Knowing he was going to have to do something to get out of the blocks first, Yates took his time staging and when Alderman he waiting for as long as possible, too long actually, to go all in. The result was that Alderman was down on the revs after suffering a break in concentration and Yates won on a massive hole shot. But there is a whole additional layer to this story.

In today’s drag racing world, the term “autostart” dominates virtually all competition for tracks that use a Compulink timing system. What this means is that the starter flips the switch when both machine are in pre-stage. Once one goes into the full staged position, there is an automatic timer triggered that will foul out the other car if it does not stage in 7-seconds (10 for sportsman). Back in 1994, it was Buster Couch who controlled the tree and when it fell. The incredible thing about this video is that he tried to red light Yates by throwing the switch but instead when he was hitting the switch to kill Yates’s program, Yates’s tire moved into the fully staged spot at the exact same time. This is beyond some sort of cosmic coincidence. The freaking electrons couldn’t get there fast enough to foul Yates out, he was on the chip (literally) and since Alderman had taken his finger off the trigger quick, he got squashed. It was a finely played game of starting line chess by Jim Yates that got him the win.

In today’s world we see most of the staging shenanigans happening in the pro mod ranks where blower and nitrous cars regularly use every one of the seven available seconds to stage against the turbo cars who are heating their transmissions to nuclear level while waiting. It has been, and always will be a part of the sport. Starting line duels, rule!


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