USA: Road Atlanta: Rob Bunker race two notes

Rob Bunker saved his best until last, turning up his performance in the final double-race weekend for the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. Bunker, of Bridgewater, N.J., led the opening practice on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in ...

Rob Bunker saved his best until last, turning up his performance in the final double-race weekend for the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. Bunker, of Bridgewater, N.J., led the opening practice on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, Ga., and followed with strong sixth-place qualifying efforts for both the Sept. 29 and 30 races.

Bunker had a good start in the first race, moving his No. 18 AIM Autosport Formula BMW FB2 to fifth at the green flag. Unfortunately, he was judged to have jumped the start and was penalized with a stop in the pits, dropping him to the back of the 18-car field. Turning adversity to opportunity, Bunker and the AIM team used the rest of the race to work on car setup for the final race the next day.

"They [race officials] said I jumped the started, but it was controversial," Bunker said. "I had the suspension kind of jacked up on the front, like a drag car. I was getting ready for a good launch, and I got a good launch! We came out last because of the penalty, so the only thing we could do was make a test session out of it. And it helped -- the car stayed fantastic through the whole 30 minutes of today's [Sept. 30] race."

Bunker had another quick start in the second race, immediately gaining one position, then working up to fourth. He charged through the race, but was unable to catch the lead trio of podium finishers. He was satisfied with fourth place, his best finish of the season.

"It was an anything-goes kind of race because it was the last one. I had a great start, jumped to fifth quick, then I got Daniel Herrington for fourth. I wish I could have caught up with the guys in podium positions, but they were too far ahead at that point," he said. "I was charging hard -- some of my best laps were at the end of the race."

Bunker finished eighth in the Formula BMW USA Championship standings for the season and seventh in rookie points. He credited his Speed Secrets coaches, Ross Bentley and Bob Perona, with his first-season results.

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ross Bentley , Daniel Herrington