By Bill Klingbeil
INDIANAPOLIS (May 18, 2012) – Having exhibited flashes of racing brilliance in his professional career that first took flight in 2001, Bobby East is ready for the ride of his life in 2012 as he joins Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) for the USAC National Silver Crown Series campaign.
East will make his debut for TSR Saturday in the USAC Hall of Fame Classic presented by eBay Motors at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind., behind the wheel of the No. 22 Chevrolet Performance/Curb Records Silver Crown entry for TSR. He’s part of a potent one-two punch alongside two-time defending series champion Levi Jones in the No. 10 Chevrolet Performance/Curb Records entry.
The son of legendary car builder Bob East, who turned heads by becoming the youngest USAC winner ever when he won a National Midget Series race at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway in April 2001 at the age of 16 years, six months and 25 days, is stepping into a pretty sweet ride, at that.
East’s goal, needless to say, is to help bring TSR a third consecutive Silver Crown title and, of course, he would like nothing more than to grab the coveted trophy himself.
“I’m excited about the 2012 season, for sure,” said the 27-year-old, whose ninth season in the Silver Crown Series in 2011 was his best yet with a sixth-place finish in the final standings driving for Terry Klatt Racing. “We’ve been pretty close the past couple of years and, getting to drive for Tony Stewart & Curb-Agajanian, that should push us closer to being able to compete for the Silver Crown championship. I’ve had a great run with Terry Klatt. He has given me great opportunities over the years. And, now, I’m really excited and honored to be part of TSR and the Chevrolet Performance and Curb Records team. Everything Tony (Stewart) is involved with is about winning races and championships. I’m going to do my best to try and do that. Obviously, that shop has won quite a few, so this is a tremendous opportunity for me.”
While TSR and driver Jones have collaborated on the last two Silver Crown championships – not to mention three straight USAC Sprint Series championships and five of the last seven – the Stewart-East combination has proven to be a formidable force in Silver Crown circles over the years. Tony Stewart and East’s father were co-owners of four consecutive Silver Crown Series championship efforts from 2002 to 2005 with driver J.J. Yeley capturing the crown in 2002 and 2003 and David Steele topping the points in 2004 and 2005.
As he and TSR work toward bringing home a third consecutive Silver Crown title in 2012, the younger East feels he’s bringing a wealth of pavement race experience and success to the table.
“We’ve had pretty good success on pavement in the Silver Crown Series,” East said. “We’ve won eight pavement races in recent years, so hopefully that will help the cause. Levi (Jones) obviously runs well on pavement and dirt so, hopefully, I’ll be able to draw from him and improve both our chances to win the championship for Chevrolet and Curb Records.”
East is certainly no stranger to winning USAC events and championships. Since breaking into the National Midget Series ranks in 2001, the year he earned series Rookie of the Year honors, East has amassed 44 victories in USAC’s top three divisions – Silver Crown, Sprint Series and Midgets – through this point of the 2012 season.
He won the 2004 Midget Series title in the No. 9 Steve Lewis Racing car built by his father to become the youngest champion in USAC history at 19 years of age. He scored seven wins and 18 top-five finishes in 23 Midget Series starts that year.
While he has remained a fixture in USAC Racing circles every year since, East’s Midget Series title in 2004 opened the door for opportunities driving stock cars for various high-profile organizations beginning in 2005, when he made his debut in an ARCA Series event at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the No. 29 Clorox Ford.
East made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut later that year, driving the No. 46 Armor All Ford to a solid 17th-place finish at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park in October. He then made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in November of that year at Phoenix International Raceway.
Ford was duly impressed with East’s stock-car-racing prowess and promptly made him part of its driver development program in 2006 as driver of a Wood Brothers Racing/JTG Racing racetruck as teammate to fellow Truck Series rookie Marcos Ambrose. East finished 23rd in the standings despite missing two events.
In 2007, East stepped up to the Nationwide Series ranks, splitting his time between the Nos. 27 and 37 Brewco Motorsports Fords in a limited, 10-race schedule. His best result was a solid top-12 at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Jack Roush brought East on board for the 2008 Camping World Truck Series season as driver of the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford racetruck. East scored a pair of eighth-place finishes at Memphis and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth as his best results for Roush Fenway Racing, and he added his first career NASCAR pole in July at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind.
The last three seasons have seen East continue to reel off victories and contend for titles in USAC competition. In the Midget Series, East brought home season-ending finishes of fifth and seventh in 2009 and 2010, respectively, with four wins and 17 top-five finishes in 34 starts during that time.
He scored a pair of wins each in the National Silver Crown and Sprint Series in 2011 en route to earning his career-best finish of sixth in the Silver Crown standings.
East was born in Torrance, Calif., grew up in Brownsburg, Ind., and continues to reside there. He enjoys playing golf and is an avid fan of the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts.
Bobby East: Driver of the No. 22 Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing USAC Silver Crown Series Entry
Date of Birth: 12.17.84
Hometown: Brownsburg, Ind.
Residence: Brownsburg, Ind.
Marital Status: Married, Courtney
Highlights: 2004 USAC National Midget Car Series Champion… 2001 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year… Eight career USAC National Silver Crown Series victories… 14 career USAC National Sprint Car Series victories… 22 USAC National Midget Series victories… Veteran of 31 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races from 2005 to 2008… 11 NASCAR Nationwide Series event starts… One ARCA Series start in 2005… Became the youngest USAC winner ever when he won at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway in April 2001 at the age of 16 years, six months and 25 days.
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About Curb Records
Curb Records is one of the world’s leading independent record companies. Owned and operated by Mike Curb since 1962, Curb Records has achieved more than 300 Billboard No. 1 records. Today’s roster includes some of the top names in country, Christian and pop/rock music. Curb Records was honored as Billboard Magazine’s 2001 Country Music Label of the Year and Radio & Records Magazine’s 2005 Overall Gold Label of the Year. For more information, visit www.curb.com.