Milwaukee: Rob Bunker race notes

Rob Bunker added another first to his growing list of accomplishments -- his first oval-track race finish. The Bridgewater, N.J., teen was chasing a top-five result in the June 2 Star Mazda Championship race on the Milwaukee Mile, but a worsening...

Rob Bunker added another first to his growing list of accomplishments -- his first oval-track race finish. The Bridgewater, N.J., teen was chasing a top-five result in the June 2 Star Mazda Championship race on the Milwaukee Mile, but a worsening oversteer condition left him 13th.

Bunker qualified the No. 18 AIM Autosport Pro Formula Mazda 10th on the 25-car grid with a lap of 28.148 seconds on the one-mile oval track. After the race start, he quickly moved to seventh, turning laps to match the race leader. He adjusted the front stabilizer bar as the car started to break loose, but lost valuable track position trying to hold it steady.

"We made a lot of steps in the right direction; we learned a lot about the car. Unfortunately, for the race we went overboard a little bit and, for the first time all weekend, really made the car oversteer a whole bunch. I started pulling the bar back, going to full hard, but eventually I just ran out of bar. I guess the car got the best of me," he said. "I had a wonderful save toward the end. I had the car literally perpendicular to the track, but saved it!"

Completing 99 laps in less than 30 seconds each -- a total of 396 left turns in 55 minutes -- Bunker experienced the disorientation of oval racing. "Normally, I step out of the car to the right. But I didn't even try to use my right side," he said.

Never content with less than a win, he was happy with his progress during the weekend.

"We ended up 13th, but we definitely had a top-five finish in the making," he noted. "I pushed myself as hard as I could go. You can always question whether you've used everything the car has, and this weekend we know for a fact that we did everything we could. The start was amazing and we had awesome, awesome restarts. We didn't feel like we missed a big chunk. It was a positive weekend, I had a lot of fun and I definitely challenged myself."

-sp-

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Series Pro Mazda