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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, California.

Wish us luck and keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  We will update you after the races!

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 well.

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!