Silver Crown
Friday, 15 July 2022


Bobby East Bobby East John Mahoney Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (July 15, 2022)………Bobby East, one of the most prolific drivers of his era and a three-time USAC National Champion driver in USAC Silver Crown and Midgets, passed away on the night of July 13, 2022, in southern California.  He was just 37 years old.

Born in Torrance, Calif., but making his home throughout his racing career in Brownsburg, Ind., East captured 56 career USAC-sanctioned feature victories, 48 of them in national divisions.

In all, East racked up three USAC national driving titles, starting in 2004 with the USAC National Midgets and twice more with back-to-back USAC Silver Crown championships in 2012 and 2013.

“The USAC community is shocked and saddened with the sudden passing of Bobby East, a three-time champion of the United States Auto Club,” Kevin Miller, USAC President & CEO, stated.  “On behalf of USAC, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bobby, a racer among racers.”

The son of Janice and famed USAC Hall of Fame car builder Bob East, Bobby was an immediate success in his USAC career.  His first career triumph with the USAC National Midgets in 2001 at Schererville, Indiana’s Illiana Motor Speedway made Bobby the youngest USAC national feature winner ever at the time, at the age of 16.  His three winning performances in 2001 made him the winningest USAC National Midget Rookie in more than a quarter century.  Ultimately, he was rewarded as the series’ Rookie of the Year.

In his career, East totaled 22 USAC National Midget feature wins, the majority of which came for the series’ winningest team owner, Steve Lewis, and his legendary “Nine Cars.”

Undoubtedly, East’s breakthrough season arrived in 2004 when he emerged the victor of many of the most prestigious events on the series calendar, including the Hut 100 at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, the Belleville (Kan.) Midget Nationals and the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway en route to the series championship.

He’d tack on to his midget racing accolades in 2008 as the winner of both the Night Before the 500 at Indianapolis Raceway Park and the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway, a night in which he swept the slate of racing activity by also capturing the Silver Crown later that same evening.

East’s USAC Silver Crown success was paramount as he picked up 11 career victories, which ranks ninth all-time.  His first came at Virginia’s Richmond International Raceway in 2004 for Klatt Enterprises.  Under impending darkness, East charged from the tail to win going away in a spectacular performance at Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Mile in 2011.

The halcyon days of East’s USAC Silver Crown career came when he teamed up with Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing and delivered consecutive series championships in 2012 and 2013.  His score in the 2012 Sumar Classic Terre Haute finale was historic as it put him on the exclusively short list of nine drivers in USAC history who’ve won on dirt and pavement tracks in all three national divisions: Silver Crown, National Sprint Car and National Midget.

The last of East’s 48 USAC National victories came in the Silver Crown series in 2013 at Colorado’s Pikes Peak International Raceway.  He made his final USAC start of any sort in the 2014 Silver Crown season finale where he led a race-high 54 laps and finished third at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

East was phenomenal in USAC National Sprint Cars as well, most notably on pavement tracks.  He tallied 15 wins in the series, with the first coming in 2003 at Ohio’s Mansfield Motorsports Speedway.  He also prevailed at the Milwaukee Mile in 2005 in what remains as the last USAC Sprint Car race held on a one-mile track.