About RYR Engines

About the Founder

For nearly 40 years, Robert Yates worked in the sport of stock car racing, steadily and progressively building a legendary career that made him part of NASCAR history. Yates made a name for himself as one of NASCAR’s modern era top team owners ultimately securing a NASCAR championship with driver Dale Jarrett in 1999. Yates has been one of the circuit’s premier engine builders since the 1960s when he provided engines for legendary drivers suchs as Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.

From 1976 to 1985, Yates provided horsepower for the DiGard Racing team for drivers including Rickey Rudd, Greg Sacks, Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison. It was during his tenure at DiGard that Yates served as the chief engine builder for Bobby Allison’s 1983 NASCAR Championship team. Yates also served as Richard Petty’s engine builder for his 199th and 200th win and Greg Sacks’ 1985 Daytona Win.

In early 1986, Yates briefly left racing to work on the development of Ethanol synthetic fuel, but the desire for the world of competitive auto racing was still present. It wasn’t long before Yates knew where he should be. By August, he returned to the garage area as team manager for the Ranier/Lundy Racing and started his own engine business. 

Almost two years after joining the Ranier/Lundy Racing organization, Yates’ years of hard work under the hood was rewarded, and he was afforded the opportunity to purchase the team from its current owners. With Davey Allison’s encouragement, Yates took his career to the next level and opened the doors of Robert Yates Racing in 1988.

Since Robert Yates Racing’s start, Yates’ two-car team proved to be one of the most invincible opponents in the NASCAR garage. On September 7, 2007, Robert Yates announced his retirement as President of Robert Yates Racing following the last race of the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Yates continued with his joint ownership of Roush Yates Racing Engines as well as other ventures. In September 2009, Yates sold his share of Roush Yates Engines to his son, Doug Yates.

In 2010, a new business brought Robert Yates out of retirement and back into NASCAR to form Robert Yates Racing Engines. The company was named the exclusive North American provider of the NASCAR-Approved Spec Engine. Robert Yates Racing Engines offers the Spec Engine for purchase either as a kit or fully assembled, dyno operation as well as a complete list of replacement parts or engine maintenance services for any existing or future customer. 

In October of 2017, Roberts Yates sadly passed away, leaving his wife and partner in crime, Carolyn, to continue his legacy. After his significant involvement in NASCAR racing, Robert Yates was inducted in the NASCAR Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2018.

 

 

About the Team

Kristi Jones – Business Manager

Kristi Jones is the Business Manager for Robert Yates Racing and has been working for the company in some capacity since 1999. Before Robert Yates Racing she earned her Bachelor’s degree from State University of New York in Business and Public Management as well as an Associate’s degree in Media Marketing and Management. After college, she worked for several Sports and Entertainment companies including the Charlotte Hornets, Upper Deck Trading Cards, and Action Performance, Inc. In her free time, Kristi loves to travel, work out, and spend time with her husband, Derek and daughter, Lauren.

 

David Lewis – General Manager

David Lewis has been working with the Yates family for 22 years and currently serves as the General Manager for Robert Yates Racing Engines. David has been involved in racing his entire life and has an Automotive Degree from Pierce College. Before working for the Yates family, David worked in Los Angeles, California in Law Enforcement. Some of his career successes include a Rolex 24 win, a Busch Championship, and several Daytona 500 wins all with Roush Yates Racing Engines. In his free time, David spends time with his wife, Corrine, and two boys, Jake and Tyler. He also enjoys biking and riding his Harley.

 

Robyn Bucknam – Office Manager

Robyn Bucknam serves as the Office Manager for Robert Yates Racing Engines. She earned a degree in Marketing from the University of Northern Iowa and has been working in racing for her entire career. Before coming to Robert Yates Racing Engines in January of 2022, Robyn worked for Dewalt in the Motorsports program as the Events Marketing Manager for 25 years. She also worked closely with Matt Kenseth for nearly 10 years as his Administrative Assistant. Robyn currently resides in Mooresville with her husband, Darin and son, Luke. She enjoys puzzling, hiking, and spending time with her family.

 

Don Blackshear – Lead Developer

Don Blackshear is the Lead Developer for the 525 Engine Program for Robert Yates Racing Engines. Don has been involved in racing all of his life, and even built his first engine at just 10 years old. He has an extensive background in drag racing including a successful racing career of his own. Before coming to Robert Yates Racing Engines a little over a year ago, Don worked for Blackshear Racing as well as Pace Performance as the Circle Track Engine Developer. In his spare time, Don loves to visit his two sons and a daughter as well as his grandkids. He loves getting involved in their racing programs.

 

Alan Rose – Shop Coordinator/Machinist

Alan Rose has been with Robert Yates Racing Engines for over three years and currently works as both a Machinist and Shop Coordinator. Alan grew up watching his Dad race and found a passion for it there. He has been working on engines his whole life, and even has done some racing of his own. Before coming to Robert Yates Racing Engines, Alan worked at ECR Engines for 17 years. In his free time, he likes to work in his home shop, spend time with his family, and practice sport shooting.

 

 

Reggie Hart – Head Engine Builder

Reggie Hart serves as the Head Engine Builder for Robert Yates Racing Engines. He has been working with engines for most of his life. Before coming to Robert Yates Racing Engines in February of 2022, Reggie worked for both Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Hendrick Motorsports. He also spent time in drag racing as well. In his free time, Reggie enjoys fishing and taking rides in his Jeep.

 

 

 

Christian Colasuonno – Engine Dissasembly

Christian Colasuonno has been working for Robert Yates Racing Engines since November of 2021 on Engine Disassembly. After graduating from NASCAR Technical Institute in April of 2022, he started on the Robert Yates Racing Engines team full-time. In his free time, Christian likes working on cars, spending time with his dog, and going to racing events. Christian hopes to continue his career in racing and work his way into building motors.

 

 

Caleb Hutson – Engine Disassembly/Encryption Specialist

Caleb Hutson works on Engine Disassembly and serves as the Encryption Specialist at Robert Yates Racing Engines. After graduating from the NASCAR Technical Institute in November of 2021, he started at Robert Yates Racing Engines in December. Caleb also worked at RF Engines in Concord before joining the team here. In his free time, Caleb is an avid bowler. He also does some traveling with his family including visits to both Japan and Korea. 

 

 


Our Facility

Robert Yates Racing Engines operates out of a 22,000+ square foot facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. The shop is outfitted with state-of-the art equipment from Sunnen®, Newen®, SuperFlow, Clausing, Safety-Kleen®, and Columbia Marking Tools to support engine assembly and dyno-testing as well as any rebuilds or engine maintenance requirements by racers using the NASCAR-Approved Spec Engine.