Ohhh, do I ever know what you are going through!
It's been almost 25 years for me.. and moving from dirt oval to 17.5 TC on top of that.
I did a lot of research as well and settled on Xray's T2R Pro with a few well placed upgrades. I'm running asphalt outdoors though and could justify the glass chassis for the extra flex over carbon fiber.
The savings went into gear and tools that will be used as I shake the cobwebs out and gain some track time - assuming these old eyes and reflexes are capable of regaining any skill at all!
Here is a partial list of what I've started with:
 Xray T2R Pro (definitely need to get adjustable turnbuckles)
 Novak Havoc Pro ESC & 17.5 Brushless Ballistic Motor
 Futaba 4Pk Radio, receiver and brushless servo
 MuchMore Silent charger, power supply, Lipo balancer & tire warmer
 Hudy set-up station (with a few extras for trackside adjustments)
 EDS hex, screw and nut drivers (good stuff, reasonably priced and the engraving is a nice to touch to keep them from walking off - by accident of course!)
 AMB personal transponder (just got that today!)
 Batteries I'm still unsure about, but I did pick-up a couple of Pro Tek 5000 mAh 40C's to use until they become the limiting factor
and because we are racing outdoors...
 an EZ-Up tent, table & chairs and finally
 a Honda generator.
What I haven't listed is the typical jetsam and flotsam that comes with racing - bodies, tires, gears, springs, etc. - but if you have raced competitively in the past, you should already be aware of all that.
Hope the list is helpful. Sure wish somebody had done the same for me 9 months ago when I made the decision to get back into racing.
If you have questions on why
I made a particular choice on any item, let me know. Nothing was done by chance... (out of stupidity? Maybe, but not by chance!)