Bobby East, a three-time national champion in USAC who raced in NASCAR for several years in the late 2000s, died Wednesday afternoon after being stabbed at a gas station in the Los Angeles area. He was 37.
According to a report by mynewsla.com, East was filling up his tank at a gas station at around 5:45 p.m. local time when he had words with a homeless man known to frequent the Westminster area, and the man then stabbed East in the chest. Officers were sent to the gas station and East was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police sought the transient — 27-year-old Trent William Millsap, who according to RACER had an outstanding parole warrant — and received information on Friday that Millsap was in an apartment in the Anaheim area. A SWAT team was sent to the location on a search warrant, and a shootout occurred between Millsap and authorities. The ensuing shootout left Millsap dead and one police dog injured with a single, non-life threatening gunshot wound.
The son of USAC Hall of Fame car builder Bob East, Bobby East enjoyed his greatest racing success in USAC while also briefly racing in NASCAR for several years in the 2000s. According to Speed Sport, East became the youngest driver to ever win a USAC midget race at the age of 16 in 2001, and he proceeded to win the USAC midget championship three years later in 2004.
East then moved on to what was then the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, running the full 2006 season for Wood Brothers Racing. East made 31 career Truck Series starts in all, scoring a best finish of eighth on two occasions. He also made 11 career starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, most of which came during the 2007 season for Brewco Motorsports.
After making his last NASCAR start in 2008, East returned to USAC competition and built his racing legacy there, winning two Silver Crown championships in 2012 and 2013. East had 48 career national victories in all and is one of a select few drivers in USAC history to have wins on both dirt and pavement tracks in all three national divisions (Silver Crown, Sprint Cars and Midgets).
Prior to the death of Millsap, authorities had asked anyone with information on the stabbing to call police at (714) 548-3212. Orange County Crime Stoppers accepts anonymous tips at (855)-TIP-OCCS.