Brock Yates’ life and career is synonymous with fearlessness and proof that fortune favors the bold. He has left a mark on sports journalism at Car and Driver and on television networks through his frank insights and unceremonious delivery. At a time when government regulation was completely changing the manufacturing of American automobiles and individual freedoms were being tested, Yates was unafraid to question authority. He created the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. A high-speed, non-stop adventure from New York to Los Angeles, this cross-country event was more than just a race. It used the automobile as a vehicle for social awareness and change and symbolized the individual’s ability to think for themselves.
Yates, known for being extremely outspoken, earned that right through immersing himself into everything automotive. Though at times his candor has gotten him in trouble—there is a running joke about Car and Driver publisher and editor David Davis repeatedly firing him—Yates always earned the respect of his peers and audience through his smart, honest journalism and genuine charm.
Yates is best known for his long-time Executive Editor position at Car and Driver. He began his career as Managing Editor at the magazine in 1964. In its early days, the magazine wanted to do things differently than other contemporary automobile publications. This was right up Yates’ alley.
Yates spent a portion of his career in televised automotive journalism acting as the Pit Reporter during the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup) aired by CBS, providing color commentary for ABC Sports, and co-hosting "The American Sports Cavalcade" along with his own show, "The Great Drivers,” on The Nashville Network.
Yates authored many books on the mediocrity of automobile manufacturers, contemporary car design, and the social impact of the automobile. Also included in his repertoire are his personal racing memoirs, as well as fictional novels with parallels to the automotive world. Some of Yates’ accolades include the Ken Purdy Award for Automotive Journalism, the Playboy Magazine award for editorial excellence, and the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by International Automotive Media Awards.
In addition to his impressive career, Brock Yates’ passion for vintage automobiles and memorabilia has resulted in an extensive collection. From rebuilt classics to cars driven in the famous Cannonball Runs, Yates’ automobiles are both historical and stunning.