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Bob Gilbertson Print E-mail



Position: Driver / Owner

DOB: 4-7-55

Birthplace: Vancouver,WA

Hometown: Gastonia, NC


Bob Gilbertson's Best E.T. and Speed:

Quickest E.T. :
4.762 seconds - September 29, 2006 - Budds Creek, Maryland

Fastest MPH:
325.45 mph - June 10, 2006 - Chicago, Illinois

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Funny Car driver Bob Gilbertson’s love of drag racing has been a part of his life for as far back as he can remember. But what separates this superstar from the other drivers competing on both the National Hot Rod Association and the Live Nation/International Hot Rod Association's Championship Drag Racing circuits is a tenacious will to succeed, regardless of the obstacles before him.

Gilbertson’s relentless pursuit of his quarter-mile dream, which mirrors his unwavering work ethic in the business world, has positioned the Gastonia, N.C.-based pro squarely in the middle of the championship title chase in the sport’s most competitive and challenging category.

Like most drivers on the tour, Gilbertson’s dream of becoming a professional racer started the moment he earned his driver’s license at the age of 16. While sweeping the floors of a local air tank manufacturing plant in Portland, Ore., Gilbertson would set aside $35 from each paycheck in hopes of saving enough money to build his own hot rod.

Five years later in 1976, while America was observing its bicentennial celebration, a 21-year-old Gilbertson began setting off his own fireworks campaigning an Alcohol Funny Car in local NHRA and AHRA races. His Northwest roots connected instantly with the drag racing stars of the mid-‘70s. The famed 64-car Funny Car wars held at Seattle International Raceway during that period were some of the biggest racing events in the country and legends like Ed “the Ace” McCulloch, a personal hero of Gilbertson’s, would come to town to battle with the best the sport had to offer.

Gilbertson’s racing prowess was evident from the start and he began racking up wins at local match races. By the end of the season, Gilbertson was second in the NHRA’s Division 6 standings.

Then reality set in and Gilbertson begrudgingly realized he needed to take a step back from racing in order to make his own way in the world. Energetic and determined as ever, he honed his skills in the air tank plant. Eventually, an opportunity in the Metrolina area of the Carolinas arose and Gilbertson moved across the country to start Trick Tank.

The business was soon turning a profit but it did consume all of Gilbertson’s time. Although the call of the quarter-mile never left him, Gilbertson stayed away from the racetrack for a decade.

Once Trick Tank reached a point where it no longer required constant supervision, Gilbertson quickly returned to the cockpit of a fire-breathing Funny Car. In 1986 he began competing on the IHRA drag racing tour and over the course of the next six years the accolades poured in with a pair of top three finishes in the national points standings, runner-up honors at the Invitational Coogle Clash, and his first national event win at the 1992 IHRA Summer Nationals in Cayuga Falls, Canada.

During this successful stint in the IHRA, Gilbertson would compete at select NHRA races and his desire to compete at the top level of drag racing would be piqued every time.

Further business commitments forced Gilbertson into a part-time racing mode for the next few years but by 1997 he was ready for the final step to the NHRA. He founded Terminator Motorsports, renewed his competitor’s license, and marched back into the fray at the legendary Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. By 1999, Gilbertson was back to form, winning rounds at several events including a semifinal run at the prestigious U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

The new millennium brought even bigger things to the Terminator Motorsports team. At Houston’s O’Reilly Nationals, Gilbertson reached the pinnacle of all drag racing with his first NHRA national event win. Impressing the masses, Gilbertson knocked out an all-star cast of foes to get to the winner’s circle that day, coming from the 16th and final qualifying position to post victories over 10-time champ John Force, the sport’s first man to 300 mph -- Jim Epler, two-time series runner-up Ron Capps, and multiple event winner Jerry Toliver.

With his greatest triumph in hand, Gilbertson stood firm and resolute in constant pursuit of improving his team and taking it to the next level. His enormous success on the racetrack garnered Gilbertson a career-best finish in the NHRA championship points standings and, more importantly, set the foundation for Terminator Motorsports to grow into a team that's a threat to win anywhere they race.

With the Live Nation/International Hot Rod Association announcing that they world bring back the nitro Funny Car class in 2006, Gilbertson made a concerted effort in that series resulting in numerous No.1 qualifying positions, two wins (New Hampshire-2006 and Rockingham, N.C.-2007) and he finished third in the points standings both years. Gilbertson currently holds both ends of the IHRA World Record for the class at 4.841 seconds at 318.09 mph.

For 2008 Gilbertson and his team, lead by veteran crew chief, Tommy Delago, have set their sights on the ultimate goal, the Live Nation/IHRA National Championship. Considering Gilbertson's inexorable desire, the sky appears to be the limit this team.

In February of 2009, Bob's wife Sally lost her life. Bob was forced to retire and focus on business. Today Bob remains active and plans to race as much as possible on a limited schedule. Look for Bob in his Trick Tank Funny Car in 2015 and beyond.

Gilbertson has three children, Rob, Sandy Ann, and Jake.

Bob Gilbertson's Career Highlights :

· Winner of the 13th annual NHRA O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on April 16, 2000. On his way to victory he defeated Funny Car notables - John Force, Jim Epler, Ron Capps and Jerry Toliver.

· Began NHRA career in 1976, at the age of 21, campaigning Alcohol Funny Cars in the Northwest. Finished second in the NHRA Division Six Funny Car point standings.

· Winner of the 1992 IHRA Summer Nationals in Cayuga Falls, Canada. Finished third in IHRA Funny Car point standings that year.

· Founded Terminator Motorsports in 1997.

· Best NHRA starting position is sixth - 2000 Matco SuperNationals, Houston, Texas - 4.934 ET, 308.38 MPH.

· Winner of the 2006 IHRA North American Nationals, Epping New Hampshire - 4.841 ET, 318.09 MPH

· Winner of the 2007 IHRA World Finals, Rockingham, N.C. - 4.877 ET, 315.86 MPH

· Holds track records at nine of the 11 tracks on the Live Nation/IHRA circuit

Quickest Elapsed Time:
4.762 seconds - September 29, 2006 - Budds Creek, Maryland

Fastest MPH:
325.45 mph - June 10, 2006 - Chicago, Illinois

PERSONAL :

· Gilbertson has three children, Rob (9/15/76), Sandy Ann (10/3/84), and Jake (9/17/94).

· Owns and Operates Carolina Tank in Charlotte, N.C. They produce both steel and aluminum air tank reservoirs for the trucking industry, the military and other commercial vehicles.

· Also owns Trick Tank, Inc., the world's only aluminum portable air tank.

· Gilbertson's hobbies include playing his guitar and drums. He relaxes by going fishing and riding his dirt bike.