NINE RACING OWNER STEVE LEWIS AND CHASSIS BUILDER BOB EAST PURSUE SEPARATE DIRECTIONS LAGUNA BEACH, CA - After an extremely successful 18-year run in the USAC National Midget series, Steve Lewis and Bob East have decided to pursue separate paths.
NINE RACING OWNER STEVE LEWIS AND CHASSIS BUILDER BOB EAST PURSUE SEPARATE DIRECTIONS
LAGUNA BEACH, CA - After an extremely successful 18-year run in the USAC National Midget series, Steve Lewis and Bob East have decided to pursue separate paths. Effective immediately, they have chosen to end their remarkable collaborative efforts in the Nine Racing team, which brought numerous wins, national championships and worldwide attention to several of America's most famous drivers.
Nine Racing, fielded by Team Owner Steve Lewis, publisher of Performance Racing Industry (PRI) magazine, has been competing in the USAC National Midget Championship series since the late 1970s. Bob East is the owner of Beast Enterprises, manufacturer of the famous Beast chassis. East's son, Bobby, defending USAC Midget Driver Champion, and driver of Lewis' Nine Midget the last three seasons, also has decided to leave the team, in order to begin his preparation for next season's NASCAR Busch series.
Under Bob East's leadership, the formidable Nine Racing team won 10 USAC National Midget Championships and more than 120 feature wins. Numerous NASCAR stars first arrived on the national motorsports radar screen in the famed Nine Midgets, including such drivers as Tony Stewart, Mike Bliss, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Kenny Irwin, JJ Yeley and East.
"Bob has been an integral part of our team's success from the beginning, and has worked hard on behalf of Nine Racing all these years," stated Lewis. "The timing for this directional change was accelerated by the fact that the team has elected to move to Toyota power for the 2006 USAC racing season, while Bob and his son Bobby will continue their association with Ford.
"Nine Racing will run a selected number of the remaining 2005 USAC races under the Ford banner," Lewis added, "however, we'll have a different driver, or drivers, in our cockpit. I am saddened by Bobby's departure as our goal this year was to win another Midget Championship with him, but I understand his decision and wish both his father and him much success in the future."
The new Toyota engine will debut at the annual Copper Classic event at Phoenix International Raceway in January, 2006. Nine Racing Midgets will continue to compete in the USAC series with race engines prepared by Ed Pink Racing Engines.