Many of us could learn a lot from the words of the legendary NASCAR team owner Robert Yates.
As fans may recall, Robert — a NASCAR engine builder and former owner of the Sprint Cup Series team Robert Yates Racing (now just Yates Racing) — passed away from liver cancer back in October 2017, leaving countless family, friends, and fans to have to live their lives without him. Yet, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony on January 19, 2018, Robert’s words were highlighted in his very own induction speech, read perfectly by friend and fellow NASCAR family member Dale Jarrett.
“I never prayed to win a race,” Robert wrote in the speech. “I just prayed for the wisdom to help me make good decisions. My creator didn’t always give me what I asked for, but he gave me more than I deserved.”
The speech also allowed Robert to dwell a bit on one of the worst moments of his life: losing driver Davey Allison in 1993. “Losing Davey was painful,” Dale read from Robert’s speech. “We shed a lot of tears and didn’t know how we would move on, but we did.”
But, most importantly, the speech allowed Robert to pay tribute to his beloved family members, straight from heaven.
“It’s been 51 years since I took a four‑day leave from the Army and made the best decision of my life: I married Carolyn,” he wrote. “She’s been by my side ever since and has supported me every step of the way. I worked all hours of the day and night, but she never called to say, ‘Get home.’ She let me work. Carolyn, I don’t know where the time has gone, but it seems like yesterday we were in an one‑bedroom apartment trying to make ends meet. You’re the light of my life. You’ve always been there for me, particularly this past year. Your devotion reminded me of our vows: In sickness and in health, and I love you.”
When the speech was through, there was not a dry eye in the house, including Robert’s son, Doug.
“Tonight … was the first time I’ve seen it, and it was just typical my dad,” Doug Yates said after the speech was through, according to Motorsport.com. “He’s going to hit on every point and give other people the credit, and it was just so well done. I’m so proud of him. To have Dale deliver it…it was a special—I can’t wait to go watch it again, because, to be honest, my heart was about to jump out of my chest, and I was trying not to cry. And so I need to go watch it again because it was something I was just really trying to get through and be strong. But I’m really proud.”
It’s sad that Robert wasn’t there in person to celebrate that special night. But, something tells us he was looking down and smiling at all the folks gathered there in his honor.
This post was originally published on January 25, 2019.