Road Atlanta: Rob Bunker race notes

Rob Bunker had a strong start to the Star Mazda Championship race weekend at Road Atlanta, but changing weather conditions zapped him on race day. After a partial season in ARCA RE/MAX Series stock-car racing, the Bridgewater, N.J., driver ...

Rob Bunker had a strong start to the Star Mazda Championship race weekend at Road Atlanta, but changing weather conditions zapped him on race day.

After a partial season in ARCA RE/MAX Series stock-car racing, the Bridgewater, N.J., driver enjoyed a speedy return to open-wheel competition, posting the third-fastest lap time in the second Star Mazda session. He then qualified the No. 77 Velocity Motorsports Pro Formula Mazda eighth on the 26-car grid with a lap of one minute 19.889 seconds on the 2.54-mile road course in Braselton, Ga.

Heavy rain fell before the Friday race, but stopped just before the cars moved to the starting grid, leaving teams scrambling for the right car setup. Bunker's crew settled on an intermediate setup that kept him in the top half of the field for the 45-minute race. He finished 11th.

"Performance-wise, we put everything we could into it and that's what really counts. We were kind of hoping for rain and the car was set up hoping for rain and we didn't get it. I battled as much as I could," Bunker said.

"I think we proved [ourselves] early in practice when we were up in third. That's where we belonged, but we had some gremlins all weekend that kept us from a top-three finish. I'm happy to come back into this paddock, though, and still perform really well. We didn't go backwards; we're going in the right direction."

Bunker also talked to teams competing in the American Le Mans Series race at Road Atlanta this weekend. With a potential future in sports-car racing, he said the time was well-spent:

"Sports cars is something we haven't touched upon yet. It's not only a good way to help myself become a better driver, it also looks incredibly fun. I had some time to talk to the teams and everybody seems pretty interested that we not only did formula-car racing, but we also did stock-car racing. The feeling's mutual -- I'm interested in them, they're interested in me."

-credit: -- robbunker.com --

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Series Pro Mazda