A NASCAR legend updates fans on his ongoing cancer battle AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Ricky Rudd of Cornelius, N.C., left, Dale Jarrett of Hickory N.C., right, and team owner Robert Yates, center, have a laugh in victory lane after both of Yates vehicles qualified for the first and second spots for the Daytona 500, Saturday Feb. 12, 2000, at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Jarret took the pole position and Rudd will run in the No. 2 position. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Legendary NASCAR team owner and engine builder Robert Yates has been faced with his share of challenges through the years, including finding ways to get drivers like Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip across that beloved finish line.

But Robert just might be up against the challenge of his life these days.

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Back in 2016, various health problems landed Robert in the hospital, where eventually a MRI showed that he had a grapefruit-sized mass in his liver that ended up being a cancerous tumor called a cholangiocarcinoma, or cancer of the bile duct. Various doctors suggested various forms of treatment, many of which only offered brief glimmers of hope for the NASCAR mainstay.

Yet, in a new interview with the “Charlotte Observer,” Robert now says that he is proceeding with a treatment known as multimodality therapy, with the hopes that the treatment will shrink the tumor enough for it to be surgically removed.

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“My chemo guy fusses at me about keeping my weight up,” says Robert, who has lost 65 pounds in recent months. “I told him I’ll have to slip some tungsten in my pocket to do that. So many people have cancer, so I’m always reminded that I’m not by myself. But a friend asked me recently how tough having cancer was. You know what I told him? It’s tougher than winning the Daytona 500.”

We pray that this is a battle that Robert wins again.

Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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