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Tributes poured in after the NASCAR world learned the news of Bobby East’s death. The three-time US Auto Club (USAC) champion was 37 years old.
East died on Wednesday after being stabbed in the chest at a gas station 76 on Westminster Blvd. in Westminster, Calif., according to USAC and police.
USAC released a statement announcing his death and detailing his accomplishments on the track.
“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 at the time, at the age of 16. His three winning performances in 2001 made him the nation’s top rookie USAC midget in over a quarter century. Ultimately, he was honored as the series’ Rookie of the Year.” the statement read.
Two-time NASCAR champion Todd Bodine tweeted that he was “very sad” about East’s death, calling him a “super helmsman”.
Automobile Racing Club of America communications manager Charles Krall also tweeted remembering East for his driving skills and extending his condolences to his family.
“In an open wheel car there was no one better. So sorry to hear the news today,” he tweeted. “My love and thoughts are with his parents Bob and Janice, and the entire East family. Run in peace Bobby.”
RFK Racing tweeted: “Our team is incredibly sad to hear today’s news regarding Bobby East. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”
Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass tweeted his condolences to East, commenting on the “shocking” news of his assault.
East comes from a NASCAR-loving family. Bobby’s father was USAC Hall of Fame car builder Bob East.
East has won 56 USAC races throughout his career and last raced in USAC at a Silver Crown event in 2014.
He also spent time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, making 31 races on the circuit as well as 11 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series between 2005 and 2008.
The US Auto Club described him as “one of the most prolific drivers of his day”.