NASCAR world mourns Bobby East murder: ‘One heck of a wheelman’

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Tributes poured in after the NASCAR world received the news of Bobby East’s death. The three-time US Auto Club (USAC) champ was 37.

East died Wednesday after being stabbed in the chest at a 76 gas station on Westminster Blvd. in Westminster, California, according to the USAC and police.

USAC released a statement announcing his death and detailing his achievements 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 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,” the statement read

Two-time NASCAR Champion Todd Bodine tweeted he was “very sad” about East’s death, calling him “one heck of a wheelman.” 

Automobile Racing Club of America’s communications manager Charles Krall also tweeted remembering East for his driving skills and sending 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. Race in peace Bobby.”

RFK Racing tweeted, “Our team is incredibly sad to learn today’s news about Bobby East. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”

Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass tweeted out his condolences to East, commenting on the “shocking” news of his stabbing.

East came from a NASCAR-loving family. Bobby’s father was USAC Hall of Fame car builder Bob East.

East won 56 USAC races throughout his career, and last raced at USAC during a Silver Crown event in 2014.

He also spent time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, racing 31 times 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 era.”