It has been quite some time since we posted any news so, here goes...
The 2001 season has come and gone. There
were some highlights but not nearly as many as we would have liked.
Some of them were: Qualifying straight to the feature for the USAC
Silver Bullet Race in Irwindale, California and finishing a fine 20th
place (Which bested our previous top finish of 23rd at DuQuoin,
Illinois). Racing in our very first Sports Car Club of America
RallyCross event and running a very respectable 9th place overall out
of 30 and 4th out of 9 in the Stock All-Wheel Drive class.
Setting some very fast laps in practice for the annual Rock Island
Grand Prix before succumbing to engine problems that sidelined us
from the race. And finally, getting on ESPN's highlights reel
for the Richmond, Virginia USAC Silver Bullet race by spinning out in
turn 2. While that is not really a highlight, I included it
anyway because any publicity is good publicity. Right?
At this point I would like to thank everyone
that helped out and contributed to my racing efforts. A BIG
thanks goes out to Craig and Charlotte Nielson and Mike and Donna
Pindell for their support, it was very generous. I would also
like to thank Bob East and everyone at Beast Chassis and Ed Pink and
everyone at Ed Pink Racing Engines (EPRE), it was a fantastic
opportunity to work with all of you this past season and I appreciate
all of your help!
Going forward, we just returned from the World
Karting Association's Kart Week at Daytona, Florida. Once
again, technical difficulties with the kart kept us from the final
but plans are to race a full host of kart races this year. The
next one our schedule is on Charlotte, North Carolina in March.
Hopefully, we can at least work through the engine problems that have
been plaguing the karting efforts recently.
We plan on running various local, regional, and
national kart races on both sprint and long courses as well some more
SCCA RallyCross events this year. Currently I do not have a
ride for USAC Silver Crown but we do have some irons in the fire for
future events with USAC or ARCA or ???
Spring is in the air and another racing season is upon us -- and the R.Bank Racing Team has quite a bit of
news to discuss.
First, however, we would like to mention our great sadness at the recent toll that racing has
taken on some of its finest participants. As we prepare to head off to the Copper World Classic, it
surely weighs heavily on us that we will not get to see one of our heroes, Kenny Irwin Jr., at the
track. It seems like only yesterday that we attended the participants' party at last year's Copper
World Classic and marveled at the tribute to racing and mankind that Kenny was. Along with Kenny, we
will keep Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty, Greg Moore, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Tony Roper, Ayrton Senna, Rich Vogler,
Stan Fox, Kevin Gobrecht and others in our hearts and minds.
Before getting to current news, here is an update on the end of our eventful 2000 season:
Although we took the end of the year off from USAC, we ran a "lay-down" type Enduro
kart for the first time. In our very first outing, Rob picked up a 4th Place in the 100cc controlled
class at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
At Charlotte Motor Speedway, our luck was not so good. Unfortunately, mechanical
failures struck both the Enduro kart and the traditional sit-up spring kart, leaving us with two DNFs.
Now back to the current exciting news:
The team is really coming together and preparations for the Copper World Classic are
finalizing as we speak. Many repairs have been made to the tow rig and we are picking up our brand new
custom-built trailer from Tommy Gale Race Trailers next weekend.
Most important though, is the news on the racecar and the team itself. We are piloting
the same car that Jason Leffler ran very successfully last season. It is a white-and-blue Y2K
Beast Chassis #90 with an Ed Pink Chevrolet racing engine. This
should prove to be our best racecar ever! Look for pictures to be posted soon after the event, which
takes place March 16th through the 18th.
On the team front, Bob East himself is overseeing the operation and Ed Pink is consulting on
engine issues. On top of that, the current "Pittsburgh" crew, consisting of Bob Reagan,
Steven Reagan, and Ted Hamilton, are supplemented by a new member from Indianapolis, who reports to Bob East.
All in all, things are looking good and we are very excited about racing alongside the Indy
Racing League in the Valley of the Sun!
For those who won't make it to see the race in person, it will be televised the following
Saturday, March 24th on ESPN2 from 6:30 PM till 8:30 PM.
Unfortunately, we will not have the luxury of sitting at home to watch the Phoenix race on
TV, as the second race of the season will already be in progress at Irwindale Speedway in Los Angeles,
Wish us luck and keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We will update you after the
The team is still preparing for the 2001 USAC Silver Bullet Series. New cars and engines have been
ordered and are currently being built.
More exciting though was the team's decision to a return to our roots by running a kart race. Robin
participated in the unique Rock Island Grand Prix street race in downtown Rock Island, Illinois on Labor Day
weekend. He picked up a 4th place in the controlled super stock class running a Swiss Hutless Chassis
with our proven Parilla engine. We are hoping to run a few more kart races this winter including Lowes
Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina and Daytona Speedway in Florida. We'll keep you posted...
The R.Bank Racing team is working hard to prepare for a run at the
USAC "Rookie or the Year" title in 2001. We are in
the process of putting together a new engine program that will allow
us to go after that goal. A new Y2K Beast dirt car is also
being built for our quest to run the full 2001 USAC schedule.
We plan on a full slate of testing this year and look forward to
running the Memphis, Tennessee event in October as a final test
session before next year!
The Silver Bullet teams had a short week to prepare for the annual
Copper World Classic in Phoenix, Arizona at the Phoenix
International Speedway. The weekend proved to be a little
frustrating for the R.Bank Racing team as we missed the show in the
always tough Copper World Classic. The car was fast right off
the truck but further fine-tuning proved futile and we were unable
to get any more speed out or the car. I finished 10th in the
qualifying race after developing an oil leak in the engine.
This was not good enough to earn us a spot in the feature
event. We were not alone, as many good teams and drivers,
including 1998 Rookie of the Year Todd Kane, Indy 500 veteran Joe
Gosek and USAC feature winner Derek Davidson were not able to make
the show. It seems to me that it is long overdue for USAC to
step up and follow the lead of NASCAR and start running 40+ cars on
the 1-mile tracks. It sure made for an exciting race for the
fans in Orlando and it makes it easier on the loyal USAC teams as
Jason Leffler went on to claim the victory in Phoenix. We
left the "Valley of the Sun" already looking forward to
our next event with great anticipation. We already have a
better feel for the Y2K Beast chassis and the team is working hard
to make further improvements.
The weather proved much better for race day so the team prepared the
car and watched the Indy Racing League run their 200-mile race as we
waited our turn on the track. Robbie Buhl ended up taking the
win in the IRL race with an exciting last lap battle with Buddy
Lazier and Eddie Cheever. We were hoping this would bode well
for the other "Robbie B." as it was now time for our
50-mile race. From the very first lap we were able to prove
that the new Y2K Beast chassis was indeed fast! I was able to
move from my 36th starting spot to the 21st position in only 10 or
so laps... Unfortunately the car succumbed to overheating and
ignition problems and we were credited with a final position of 32nd
for the day after the car came to a rest in the 3rd turn.
We are never happy when we don't finish a race, but it was a
promising day as the car showed promising speed that hopefully will
propel us to some good finishes in the future. Congratulations
go out to Brian Tyler for picking up the win in the feature and to
Donnie Beechler for his 6th place finish in the IRL race and 36th in
the Silver Crown feature as the only driver to pull double duty!
The start of the 2000 Silver Crown racing season had arrived and the
R.Bank Racing team looked forward to getting down to the business of
shaking down our brand new Y2K Beast chassis. After the bulk
of practice and qualifying for the 100-mile race at Walt Disney
World Speedway in Orlando, Florida were rained out we had to settle
for a 36th place starting spot after drawing for position.
During our few practice laps we felt that our Y2K Beast Silver Crown
car was fast and that it was sure to show well in it's maiden voyage
during the feature event!