Pocono II: Rob Bunker race report

Rob Bunker came from behind three times to post a 12th-place finish in the ARCA REMAX Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Saturday -- a race that was one of the toughest of his career. After chasing an optimum setup in the No. 4 ...

Rob Bunker came from behind three times to post a 12th-place finish in the ARCA REMAX Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Saturday -- a race that was one of the toughest of his career. After chasing an optimum setup in the No. 4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger, Bunker and the Cunningham Motorsports crew found the right combination for race day, enabling the Bridgewater, N.J., driver to mount strong charges after each of his three pitstops.

He started the race 21st on the 40-car grid, with a qualifying lap of 57.196 seconds on the 2.5-mile tri-oval track, at an average speed of 157.354 mph. He put his foot down and worked through the field, racing as high as eighth. His Dodge was tapped during a multi-car crash on lap 56 of 80, forcing an extra pitstop to repair the right-front bodywork, but Bunker just charged again.

"We ended up on a three-stop strategy because the right-front fender got crushed when everybody was trying to avoid a big wreck in turn two. I had to come in so they could bang the fender out. So three times I got toward the far end of the pack and drove my way back up," he said.

"We also had to stop on track for about 25 minutes. That's pretty bad when you're sitting in a heat-soaked car in 95-degree weather. It was mentally pretty tough as well because I had to keep my head in the game when we weren't even racing. This might have been one of the most exhausting races I've run."

But he was happy with the result and his progress with the team.

"It was a really good race. We always try to emphasize making the right decisions and this was one of those races where we know we made all the right decisions," he noted. "I have a much better feel for what needs to be done to get up to the top five now. We know when and where to push. If we'd been running the whole season, we'd be winning by now. The learning curve was huge, but we're doing a great job meeting the demand."

The team added another element to its pre-race strategy -- a crew karting event. "It was a lot of fun and everybody was in the mood to go racing after that," Bunker said.

"It's obvious that we're making steps in the right direction because every time we go to a new track, we do that much better. We know what to do to the car quicker and I know what feedback I need to give. It's good to know everybody's on the same page and we're making strides in the right direction. And the number one thing is we're having fun."

-credit: -- robbunker.com --

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Series ARCA