BROCK YATES QUOTES

American journalist & author

While greenies and their media flunkies continue to savage the gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine and rhapsodize about hybrids, hydrogen, electrics, natural gas, propane, nuclear, and God-knows-what-other panaceas, perhaps including bovine urine, there are no realistic, economically viable alternatives. None. Zero. Like it or not, as long as we remain dependent on the private automobile for transportation (roughly 80 percent of all movement in the nation is by car), we are harnessed to the IC gas engine.

BROCK YATES, "On the Road to Doom, Nobody Makes a Peep", Car and Driver, Dec. 2005

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The appeal of the Riverside 500 was based on that overall spectacle of witnessing a mob of brightly colored, bellowing automobiles gamboling over the countryside like a herd of runaway steers. Stock car roadracing is in fact like a mechanical stampede, and we personally think it's maybe the neatest form of motor racing known to man. It's definitely the greatest spectacle in roadracing.

BROCK YATES, NASCAR Off the Record

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Will a day come when our cars have carbon-fiber tubs, 18,000-rpm V-10 engines, and ground-effects tunnels? Perhaps, about the same time we have condos on the moon.

BROCK YATES, "Hemingway Wouldn't Recognize it Today", Car and Driver, Oct. 2005

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Some guy once told me that skydiving is like cutting your throat and seeing if you can get to the doctor before you bleed to death.

BROCK YATES, Sunday Driver

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Tags: skydiving


A written regulation in NASCAR is about as reliable as an Egyptian immigration law.

BROCK YATES, NASCAR Off the Record

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The whole movie thing has never been a source of great pride for me, in that Burt Reynolds, who starred in the picture, butchered the original script I had written for the late Steve McQueen, and the result, while a massive moneymaker, was lashed by the critics. But like the old joke about Pierre the Bridge Builder, The Cannonball Run is indelibly inscribed on my so-called career portfolio, and few conversations with strangers pass without the subject of the picture arising.

BROCK YATES, "Even the Cops Liked the Cannonball", Car and Driver, Nov. 2002

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The bicycle is a former child's toy that has now been elevated to icon status because, presumably, it can move the human form from pillar to post without damage to the environment. A laudable accomplishment, to be sure, and one that has been embraced by such progressives as the Chinese Communism hierarchy, who find the antlike movements of their population aboard bikes easy to control.

BROCK YATES, Car and Driver, 1994

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Everything at a NASCAR event carries a corporate logo except the lavatory stalls.

BROCK YATES, NASCAR Off the Record

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There is little sentimentality associated with an automobile for a real racer. Authentic car freaks, like classic-car collectors or customizers or people who belong to organizations like the Porsche Club of America worship machines, and in so doing subordinate themselves to the automobile. Automobile journalists, for the most part, devote their efforts to fiendishly detailed documentation of the automobiles and their arcane components, at the expense of the men who build and drive them. In their frame of reference, a racing car is a source of fathomless mystery and fascination. Not so with the professional competitor, who relates to his machine primarily as a tool--perhaps even a weapon--that will permit him to beat somebody else.

BROCK YATES, Sunday Driver

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Tags: cars


Racing is bulging at the seams with pure nutball characters, men who can drink more, screw more, fight more, laugh more, joke more, than practically any collection of people in the world.

BROCK YATES, NASCAR Off the Record

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As the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction. But only when the reality has not been subsumed by foamy legends and fantasies that radiate outward from the actual event.

BROCK YATES, "Even the Cops Liked the Cannonball", Car and Driver, Nov. 2002

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Tags: truth


The early 1970s was a time when illegal acts were in style. Everybody was going nuts with causes, most of them against the law.

BROCK YATES, Cannonball!

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Wherever racers go, a certain amount of madness is sure to follow. On race weekends, the area's motels vibrate with a lusty, earthy kind of activity. The cocktail lounge is usually jammed with mechanics, still in smudged white uniforms, who will joke loudly, brag endlessly, drink prodigiously, and brawl occasionally. Up and down the tiers of walkways and corridors, noisy parties swirl from room to room, while in the parking lot someone is invariably smoking the tires of a much-abused "rent-a-racer." Much of what has been written about racing implies that its protagonists are somber, brooding people, perpetually distracted with winning and the specter of death. That is nonsense. Racers for the most part are happy wanderers, with an inability to focus their intense competitiveness in brief spurts at the track. When the racing is over, the fun begins--generally centered around such conventional diversions as women, liquor, and automobiles.

BROCK YATES, Sunday Driver

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At Car and Driver, we were convinced that the automobile, as we knew and loved it, was as dead as the passenger pigeon. Ralph Nader was at full cry, ringing his tocsin of automobile doom into the brains of the public, convincing them that the lump of chrome and iron in the driveway was as lethal as a dose of Strontium 90 or a blast from a Viet Cong AK-47.

BROCK YATES, Cannonball!

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They still talk about the night that Augie Pabst, a fresh-faced heir to the brewing fortune, drove a rented Falcon into the swimming pool of the Mark Thomas Inn in Monterey, California. His reviews were so good that he repeated the act at a Howard Johnson's outside Denver.

BROCK YATES, Sunday Driver

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To be sure, [NASCAR] stars were initially ex-bootleggers for the most part drawn from that talent pool in the Carolinas hills: "good ol' boys" as they referred to themselves. That's exactly how they would be described in the press that slowly became enamored with their raucous life style. That has all changed, with the drivers of today polished and clean-cut athletes who are expected to behave like commercial puppets in public.

BROCK YATES, NASCAR Off the Record

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Why the hell not run a race across the United States? A balls-out, shoot-the-moon, f***-the-establishment rumble from New York to Los Angeles to prove what we had been harping about for years, for example, that good drivers in good automobiles could employ the American Interstate system the same way the Germans were using their Autobahns? Yes, make high-speed travel by car a reality! Truth and justice affirmed by an overtly illegal act.

BROCK YATES, Cannonball!

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If the numbers mean anything, they tell us that vastly more life is left in the reviled internal-combustion engine than any of the blue-state lefties could imagine. First, that madman Bush wins, and now this news. How depressing.

BROCK YATES, "H-bombs, WMP, and Girls in Motorsports", Car and Driver, Mar. 2005

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Tags: George W. Bush


Some critics of racing witlessly claim that spectators only attend to see someone die. This is utter and complete nonsense. I have been at numerous races where death is present. When a driver dies, the crowd symbolically dies, too. They come to see action at the brink: ultimate risk taking and the display of skill and bravery embodied in the sport's immortals like Nuvolari, Foyt, and thousands of others who operate at the ragged edge.

BROCK YATES, "Hemingway Wouldn't Recognize it Today", Car and Driver, Oct. 2005

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Tags: death


Many peg the '60s as the pinnacle of unrest in America when in fact it was the following decade that saw the nation on the edge of chaos, both politically and culturally. In retrospect it remains a singularly powerful testimony to the rigid fabric of the nation that it not only stayed strong throughout the madness of that decade, but in the '80s saw a revival of the national spirit and a collapse of the Russian empire. Political leaders of all persuasions are given credit for both our successes and failures, but it is the elemental strength of our system and the diverse fibre of the population that saved the day, as has been the case in all periods of national crisis.

BROCK YATES, introduction, Sunday Driver

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