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Gilbertson returning to competition at the Carolinas Nationals

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nitro Funny Car racer Bob Gilbertson hasn't been on a drag strip in almost a year and he's really looking forward to returning to racing at his home town track at this weekend's NHRA Carolinas Nationals at the beautiful zMAX Dragway in near-by Concord, N.C.

Gilbertson made the decision to park his team at the beginning of the year so he could focus on his business, Truck Equipment Manufacturing Company, to get it through the tough economic times but the urge to race was still burning in Gilbertson's heart.

Earlier this summer Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters, who sponsored Gilbertson at the Inaugural Carolina Nationals last year, inquired about doing it again for this years race and a deal was signed that will allow Gilbertson to compete this weekend.

Gilbertson also signed veteran crew chief Paul Smith to tune the Rinnai Monte Carlo. Smith was Gilbertson's crew chief in 2000 when they won the NHRA Houston race, Gilbertson's only NHRA victory.

The team did some testing at zMAX last week with encouraging results and Gilbertson knows he's got an uphill battle in front of him but he's optimistically confident about his chances.

"Its been a crazy year around here," Gilbertson said. "Even though we weren't out there racing we kept busy working on a marketing plan for our new sponsor and putting the deal together to get Smith on board. I'm very happy that it all came together and I just can't wait to get behind the wheel again and it's also exciting to make my return at the nicest drag strip in the world that's in my own back yard."

"Our goal is to qualify and go rounds," Gilbertson added. "It's going to be tough to even qualify but with what we learned during testing last week Paul is confident we can get into the show.

 
GILBERTSON TEAMS UP WITH HAMPTON INN - UNIVERSITY PLACE FOR CAROLINAS NATIONALS

Bob Gilbertson, owner/driver of the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater nitro Funny Car, has joined forces with the Hampton Inn - University Place for his return to NHRA competition at the 2nd Annual Carolinas Nationals at the new zMAX Dragway in near-by Concord, N.C. on Sept. 17-20.

Located just six miles from zMAX Dragway, the Hampton Inn is right in the heart of Charlotte's University area entertainment district and is in walking distance to dozens of restaurants and night clubs.

To celebrate the association, the Hampton Inn is offering a special NHRA rate of $89 per night for this event and those who make a reservation by September 8th will be entered into a special drawing for a pair of 4-day VIP tickets to the races and will also be honorary members of the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Funny Car team for the race. Everyone who makes a reservation for the NHRA weekend will also receive a limited-edition t-shirt. For more information or to make a reservation call: (704) 548-0905 and ask for the special "Gilby" rate of only $89 a night.

Gilbertson and his team will also be hosting a special "Nitro Blast-Off" pre-race reception at the hotel on Thursday evening, September 17th from 7 to 9 PM for NHRA fans and guests can meet Bob and his crew and see the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Funny Car up close in a relaxed atmosphere that promises to be a lot of fun and a great warm up for the NHRA Carolinas Nationals.

 
Veteran Crew Chief Paul Smith will tune Bob Gilbertson at Carolina Nationals

Paul SmithCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bob Gilbertson has picked Paul Smith as the crew chief of his Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters nitro Funny Car for his return to NHRA competition at the up-coming Carolinas Nationals Sept. 17-20 at zMAX Dragway @ Concord.

Smith has been involved in nitro drag racing for over 40 years and is regarded as one of the most savvy crew chiefs on the tour and he's known for being able to get his drivers into the show on many occasions when the larger funded teams struggled and didn't qualify.

Smith has tuned many drivers to NHRA national event wins including Jeff Arend, Chuck Etchells and even Bob Gilbertson to his only NHRA victory at Houston in 2000. Smith also drove quite a few nitro Funny Cars early in his career and although he never won an NHRA national Event as a driver he was runner-up three times.

Gilbertson, who hasn't been behind the wheel since last years Carolinas Nationals, is pumped up about getting back on track and re-uniting with his former crew chief.

"Hopefully we can re-create the magic that we had in Houston in 2000," Gilbertson said. "I've known Paul for many years and he's really like a member of our family and he's the best choice to get this team qualified and hopefully go some rounds on Sunday and become a spoiler in the points race."

"I'm very happy that Bob called me," Smith added. "I've known Bob for a long time and he's a real racer at heart. He's a really good driver, he's won races in the past, he knows what it takes to win and I hope that I can help him and his team achieve their goal of doing well at his home-town race in Charlotte."

 
Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters Returns To Back Gilbertson For Carolinas Nationals At zMAX Dragway

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rinnai, the world's leader in Tankless Water Heaters, will once again join forces with Bob Gilbertson's Nitro Funny Car team for the 2nd Annual Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway on September 17-20, 2009.

"I'm very pleased that the fine folks from Rinnai had a great response from their first foray in drag racing with our team at last years Carolinas Nationals," Gilbertson said. "All of their guests, employees and customers got a chance to get a close-up look at what it takes to go 300 mph and I'm looking forward to getting back on track with Rinnai on the flanks of my race car at my home town race."

"We teamed up with Bob Gilbertson at the Carolinas Nationals last year and since then the response was overwhelming from our customers who came out to see the Rinnai car," Jay Gregory, Rinnai's national account manager added. "We've received a lot of inquiries from our customers who didn't make it out to the track last year but heard about the experience from their co-workers and want to be a part of the action at this year's event."

The Rinnai Tankless Water Heater is a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient water heating system that uses a gas powered heat exchanger to heat water on demand. Compact in size, the innovative technology heats water only as needed, and unlike traditional hot water tanks that heat and reheat the same water 24 hours a day, the Rinnai system is more efficient as it only heats water when it is needed resulting in energy savings of up to 50% for the average homeowner.

For more information on Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters visit: http://www.rinnai.us/

 
Sally Gilbertson passes after short illness

GASTONIA Mrs. Sally Lynn Gilbertson, 52, of Gastonia, died Monday, February 23, 2009, at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Sally and Bob GilbertsonSally was a loving mother, wife, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.

She was born February 12, 1957, in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of Beverly Shaffer and the late Chester Pat Shaffer.

Mrs. Gilbertson attended nursing school in Portland and worked as a registered nurse for several years at CMC after moving to the Charlotte area in 1982. She and her husband started Truck Equipment Manufacturing Company of Charlotte in 1992.

In addition to her mother she is survived by her husband of 33 years, Bob Gilbertson; son and daughter-in-law Rob and Kristen Gilbertson of Harrisburg; daughter Sandy Ann Gilbertson a student at UNCC; and son Jake Gilbertson a student of Gaston Day School; her grandson Luke Gilbertson; brother and sister-in-law Greg and Betty Shaffer of Warren, OR; sister and brother-in-law Sandy and Dale Willocks of Charlotte; mother-in-law and father-in-law Maryann and Keith Manley of Boring, OR; numerous nieces and nephews; and several loving well dressed dogs.

 
Team Trick Tank Scores Big At Victory Sports Indoor Arenacross Opener

The Trick Tank motocross team ventured to Asheville, N.C. this past weekend for the opening event of the six-race Victory Sports indoor arenacross series and came away with wins and podium finishes to kick-off the winter arenacross season.

Jake Gilbertson rode to victory in Friday night's 85cc main event and scored a 7th in Super Mini and another 7th in the School Boy class racing against riders bigger and older than him for a great start. In Saturday night's events Gilbertson claimed a 5th on 85cc, a 6th in Super Mini and a 7th in School Boy for a very successful weekend.

Josh Harris, who is still recovering from an injury suffered earlier in the season, claimed 2nd and 4th in the two 250B classes, an 8th and 9th in College Boy and capped off the weekend with a 9th and a 13th in the 450B classes.

Justin Hopson, who just turned Pro this year, raced to 9th and 16th in the highly competitive 450 Pro class as he continues his learning curve racing against the more experienced riders.

Team mentor Jim Chester entered three classes, 250 Pro, 450 Pro and Over 30. During Friday night's main events Chester got a 2nd on Over 30, a 13th in 250 Pro and a 2nd in Over 30.

Saturday night was a different story as Chester thrilled the crowd with an exciting battle for the lead in the 250 Pro class with Zach Osborne, son of NHRA Pro Stock racer Mark Osborne. Chester, who is a lot older than the other riders in the class, settled for a 2nd just trailing Osborne by inches. Chester also claimed a 7th in 450 Pro and won the 30 plus class to cap off his weekend.

Team owner Bob Gilbertson was very pleased with the team's performance.

"The team has spent the past few weeks training with Jerry Masterpool and in just that time I've seen a big difference in the way they attack the track and all the practice they've been doing has payed off," Gilbertson said. "We're going to continue to practice, practice, practice and get the team ready for the next Arenacross race in Grand Rapids, Mich. the first weekend in January."

For more information on Team Trick Tank go to: www.jakegilbertson.com

 
Team Trick Tank To Kick Off The Indoor Motocross Winter Series This Weekend In Ashville, N.C.

While most folks will spend the weekend after Thanksgiving recovering from too much Turkey and laying on the couch watching football games, the Trick Tank Motocross team will head out to near-by Ashville, N.C. for the first of six events in the 2008-2009 FMF Indoor Motocross Winter Series.

Team riders Jake Gilbertson, Justin Hopson and Josh Harris have all scored big wins in this series in the past and they're all looking for good results to start off this year's points race.

Gilbertson will compete in two classes, 85cc 12-15 and the very competitive Super Unlimited Mini and is one of the favorites to score in both main events.

Hopson, who just turned Pro last year, will race in the Expert/Pro class and journeyman rider Harris will enter two classes, 250B and 450B.

Team owner Bob Gilbertson has a lot of confidence in the team and has high hopes of success this weekend.

"The guys have been riding just about every free moment preparing for Asheville," Gilbertson said. "They're all working on building up their stamina and endurance and I've already seen the results as they are riding more practice laps that they have in the past. I've got a good feeling and baring any unforeseen circumstances I'm optimistically confident that we'll start off with a bang."

For more information go to: www.jakegilbertson.com

 
Inaugural Cross M Motocross Training Camp This Sunday At The Trick Tank Training Complex In Blacksburg, S.C.

Bob Gilbertson, owner of the Trick Tank Arenacross team, announced today that Cross M Motocross Training Centers will bring their highly-acclaimed rider training school to his 26-acre complex in Blacksburg, S.C. this Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008 for a personal, one-on-one training seminar for aspiring Motocross riders.

Jerry Masterpool, who has coached athletes in all forms of sports and has taken many to the Olympics, is now concentrating on working with Motocross riders and this will be his first school on the east coast.

For more information or to sign up for the course contact Jerry at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call: (775) 772-0919.

 
Gilbertson sweeps MotoX Challenge

Team Trick Tank rider Jake Gilbertson was the class of the field at the Inaugural Upstate Indoor MotoX Challenge this past weekend at the Rice Arena in Easley, S.C.

Gilbertson entered two classes, 85cc 12-15 and the highly competitive Unlimited 85 (Super Mini) and won the main event in each class on both Friday and Saturday nights for a clean sweep of the 85cc classes.

Gilbertson also raced for the first time in the Schoolboy class to test the waters racing against older riders with more experience than him and came away with an impressive third and fifth to cap off his weekend.

Teammate Justin Hopson raced his way to a fourth and a fifth in the Expert class while Josh Harris had a miserable weekend with a crash ending his hopes of a podium finish.

Team owner Bob Gilbertson was very proud of the team's efforts at the warm-up race for the Arenacross series.

"This was a great weekend for Jake and I'm so proud of him," the senior Gilbertson said. "We went into this event with high-hopes and Jake didn't disappoint, he rode like he was on fire, he didn't make any mistakes and the end result is four victories. Justin also raced well and even though the results don't show it, he rode like he was possessed and if it wasn't for a couple of mistakes he would have been on the podium both nights. Josh Harris, what can I say, he's a great rider but crashes ended his day. I'm sure he'll re-bound at the next event."

The team will be competing at local events until the Feld Entertainment Toyota Arenacross series kicks off January 2-4 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

For more information go to: www.jakegilbertson.com

 
Team Trick Tank Kicks Off Winter Racing Season This Weekend

Team Trick Tank riders Jake Gilbertson, Justin Hopson and Josh Harris, coming off their successful showing at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, will compete in this weekend's Inaugural Upstate Indoor MotoX Challenge at the Rice Arena in Easlley, S.C.

This event is the first in a series of Arenacross races over the winter months that the team will enter and all three riders are looking forward to getting back on track.

Gilbertson will race in three classes: 85cc 12-15, School Boy and Unlimited 85cc. Hopson will compete in the Expert class and Harris will enter two classes, 250B and 450B.

Team owner Bob Gilbertson knows that racing on tracks the team has never raced on, much less seen, is good training for all of them.

"If you're going to succeed in Arenacross racing, where the tracks are different at every venue, racing at new events helps the riders learn how to adapt to different track conditions and it gives them the experience and laps they need to hone their riding skills," Gilbertson said. "You can practice all you want but racing against 20 or 30 other riders is a lot different as you can't always run the perfect line in a race and you have to make split-second decisions that will decide if you win or not and that's what we want to work on in Easley."

For more information go to: www.jakegilbertson.com

For Trick Tank Racing Products go to: www.tricktank.com

 
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