Rob Bunker continues to add to his race resume, notching new tracks and configurations in his first Formula BMW USA season. The Bridgewater, N.J., teen showed his characteristic charge in his street-racing debut in Denver on Aug. 13 and 14,...
Rob Bunker continues to add to his race resume, notching new tracks and configurations in his first Formula BMW USA season. The Bridgewater, N.J., teen showed his characteristic charge in his street-racing debut in Denver on Aug. 13 and 14, unfazed by the concrete walls of the 1.647-mile temporary street circuit designed for the Champ Car World Series.
Bunker kept his No. 18 AIM Autosport Formula BMW FB2 car on track to qualify 12th and 13th for the two Denver races, avoiding the fate of five competitors who hit the wall during the qualifying sessions. The second session added rain to the mix, making conditions more difficult, but Bunker was at home in the wet.
"It was surprisingly easy to navigate. I've always been a fairly good racer in the rain, so it was second nature to come right out to those soaking-wet walls," he said.
Starting further back than he wanted, Bunker decided to link up with his teammate, series championship leader Kevin Lacroix, at the start of the first race. Bunker gained four positions in two turns, then spun on a concrete patch. He dropped to the back of the 20-car field, but raced back to finish 14th.
Armed with more track knowledge, Bunker was ready for the second race, but found himself again charging from behind after being spun by another car. "The race on Sunday was pretty eventful," he reported. "I had a fairly good start and was on my way up through the pack and got dive-bombed. The car leaped up into the air, did a 360[-degree turn] and landed on all fours. I kept going, but it pushed me all the way back to 16th."
He regained eight positions in the remaining minutes of the race and finished eighth. Some of his championship rivals weren't as lucky.
"There were times when we definitely overstepped the boundaries, but I was able to come out without hitting anything. Keeping the car intact is really what it takes to win a season," he noted. "Although the results weren't that fantastic, the performance we put into it was phenomenal. The cars around us as far as points are concerned came back on flatbeds. So even though we didn't gain any points, we'll still move up in the final standings for the year."
Bunker's final two 2005 races will be held Sept. 29 and 30, during the Petit Le Mans race week at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Meantime, he's heading to the gym to increase his endurance capability -- so he'll be ready for even more power in 2006.