Yates, Brock W. 1933-
Yates, Brock W. 1933-
(Brock Wendel Yates)
Born October 21, 1933, in Buffalo, NY; son of Raymond F. Yates (an author) and Marguerite Yates; married Sally Kingsley, June 13, 1955 (divorced, 1978); married Pamela Reynolds; children: (first marriage) Brock W., Jr., Daniel H., Claire Anne. Education: Hobart College, B.A., 1955. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unitarian. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting vintage race cars.
Home—257 DeKalb Industrial Way, Decatur, GA 30030. E-mail—[email protected]
Perry Herald, Perry, NY, news editor, 1959-63; Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, NY, correspondent, 1959-63; Wyoming County Community Hospital, Warsaw, NY, public relations director, 1960-63; Car and Driver, New York, NY, editor, 1964-66, senior editor and columnist, 1966—. American Sports Cavalcade, host, 1984-92; Nashville Network, host of The Great Drivers; USA's Cannonball Run 2001 (television series), executive producer, 2001. Founder of the Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, 1971, 1972, 1975, and 1979; founder of the Cannonball One Lap of America road rallies, 1984-91. Advertising consultant; honorary chair, 2006 Mercedes-Benz Mirror Classic Auto Festival. Military service: U.S. Navy, 1955-60; became lieutenant.
Sports Car Club of America, Automobile Clubs of Western New York (director), Kappa Alpha Society.
Editorial award for satire (corecipient), Playboy Magazine, 1971; Ken Purdy Award, for automotive journalism.
(With father, Raymond F. Yates) Sports and Racing Cars, Harper (New York, NY), 1954.
The Indianapolis 500: The Story of the Motor Speedway, Harper (New York, NY), 1956, revised edition, 1961.
Destroyers and Destroyermen: The Story of Our "Tin Can" Navy, Harper (New York, NY), 1959.
Famous Indianapolis Cars and Drivers, Harper (New York, NY), 1960.
Guide to Racing Cars, Sterling (New York, NY), 1962, revised edition, Bonanza Books, 1962.
(With Rodger Ward) Rodger Ward's Guide to Good Driving, Harper (New York, NY), 1963.
Plastic Foam for Arts and Crafts, Sterling (New York, NY), 1965.
(With Don Garlits) King of the Dragsters: The Story of Big Daddy "Don" Garlits, Chilton (Philadelphia, PA), 1967, enlarged edition, 1970, published as Big Daddy, 1978.
Racers and Drivers: The Fastest Men and Cars from Barney Oldfield to Craig Breedlove, Bobbs-Merrill (Chicago, IL), 1968.
(With Fran Tarkenton) Broken Patterns: The Education of a Quarterback, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1971.
Sunday Driver, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York, NY), 1972.
Dead in the Water, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York, NY), 1975.
The Decline and Fall of the American Automobile Industry, Empire (New York, NY), 1983.
The Great Drivers: Profiles of America's Fastest Heroes, Diamond P. Sports (Nashville, TN), 1984.
Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races, the Machine (biography), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1991.
The Critical Path: Inventing an Automobile and Reinventing a Corporation, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.
Vanderbilt Cup Race, 1936 and 1937: Photo Archive, photographs by Smith Hempstone Oliver, Iconografix (Osceola, WI), 1997.
Outlaw Machine: Harley-Davidson and the Search for the American Soul, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.
The Hot Rod: Resurrection of a Legend, MBI Publishing Co. (St. Paul, MN), 2003.
Sunday Driver, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2004.
NASCAR Off the Record, Motorbrooks International (St. Paul, MN), 2004.
Against Death and Time: One Fatal Season in Racing's Glory Years, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Umbrella Mike: The True Story of the Chicago Gangster behind the Indy 500, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, American Spectator, Reader's Digest, Life, True, and the Wall Street Journal.
Smokey and the Bandit II, 1980.
(And actor) The Cannonball Run, 1981.
The Stockers (for television), 1981.
(And actor) The Time Machines (for television), 1986.
(And producer) Two of a Kind (for television), 1988.
The Last Race, 1993.
Bandit: Bandit Bandit (for television), 1994.
Brock W. Yates has enjoyed a long career with Car and Driver magazine and is the author of many articles, books, and screenplays, many of which feature cars and racing. His films include The Cannonball Run, which was based on the actual cross-country Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, named for Cannonball Baker. In 1971 Yates created this no-holds-barred race from New York to California, partly in opposition to the newly imposed fifty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit and to prove that cars can be driven safely at high speeds. Yates ran it alone with his fifteen-year-old son and a team, but the next race had eight entrants. The shortest time to cover the route was in under thirty-three hours, but after five runs, the last of which had forty entrants, Yates canceled it, fearing there might be legal consequences. He initiated the safer Cannonball One Lap of America in 1984, driving from Connecticut across the country and inviting fans to guess his mileage. The One Lap continued through 1991, operating under a strict set of rules. Yates is the inspiration for the film Smokey and the Bandit and wrote the screenplay for Smokey and the Bandit II.
Many, but not all, of Yates's books are about automobiles and the car industry. Among his later volumes is Outlaw Machine: Harley-Davidson and the Search for the American Soul, a tribute to the American motorcycle and the culture that surrounds it, including the outlaw mystique associated with Harleys. Against Death and Time: One Fatal Season in Racing's Glory Years is a history of 1955, the year in which a large number of drivers, spectators, and enthusiasts, including film star James Dean, lost their lives because of cars. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book an "engaging history."
Yates's biography Umbrella Mike: The True Story of the Chicago Gangster behind the Indy 500 is a history of the seamier side of racing. Michael Joseph Boyle was a friend of Al Capone, who brought the influence of the mob to auto racing, including the 1937 Vanderbilt Cup race, about which Yates wrote a previous history titled Vanderbilt Cup Race, 1936 and 1937: Photo Archive. Booklist contributor Mike Tribby felt that Umbrella Mike is a good companion to the earlier volume, calling it "a great book for auto-racing enthusiasts."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Enterprise, September, 1999, Norah Vincent, review of Outlaw Machine: Harley-Davidson and the Search for the American Soul, p. 81.
Booklist, August, 1996, David Rouse, review of The Critical Path: Inventing an Automobile and Reinventing a Corporation, p. 1866; May 15, 1999, Joe Collins, review of Outlaw Machine, p. 1649; July, 2004, Alan Moores, review of Against Death and Time: One Fatal Season in Racing's Glory Years, p. 1819; July 1, 2006, Mike Tribby, review of Umbrella Mike: The True Story of the Chicago Gangster behind the Indy 500, p. 21.
Fortune, October 28, 1996, Alex Taylor, III, review of The Critical Path, p. 193.
Library Journal, May 15, 1999, David B. Van De Streek, review of Outlaw Machine, p. 107; May 1, 2004, Eric C. Shoaf, review of Against Death and Time, p. 119.
Motorcyclist, April, 2000, Darwin Holmstrom, review of Outlaw Machine, p. 94.
Publishers Weekly, April 26, 1991, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races, the Machine, p. 52; August, 1996, David Rouse, review of The Critical Path, p. 1866; May 17, 1999, review of Outlaw Machine, p. 62; May 10, 2004, review of Against Death and Time, p. 46.
Brock Yates Home Page,http://www.onelapofamerica.com (August 22, 2006).
Coolgarages.com,http://www.coolgarages.com/ (September 5, 2006), "A Historical Carriage House Contains Special Vintage Racers."
RaceFan, Inc.,http://www.whowon.com/ (September 5, 2006), brief biography of Brock W. Yates.