- Associated Press - Thursday, October 6, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Brock Yates, a longtime auto racing journalist who helped launch the popular and off-beat Cannonball Run races in the early 1970s and wrote the hit movie of the same name, has died.

Yates died Wednesday in the western New York city of Batavia, according to his son, Brock Yates Jr. Yates was 82 and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s.

For decades, Yates was an editor and columnist at Car and Driver and he started the Cannonball Run to protest what he considered unduly strict traffic laws. He later became a screenplay writer, working on “Smokey and the Bandit II” and then “The Cannonball Run,” which came out in 1981 and starred Burt Reynolds. He also wrote more than a dozen books and was a racing commentator for CBS television.

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