JEFF BUCKNUM, SON OF INAUGURAL MIS WINNER, TO ENTER FIRESTONE INDY 400 BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 26, 2006) -- On October 13, 1968, Ronnie Bucknum became the pioneer of victory at Michigan International Speedway when he won the speedway's first...
JEFF BUCKNUM, SON OF INAUGURAL MIS WINNER, TO ENTER FIRESTONE INDY 400
BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 26, 2006) -- On October 13, 1968, Ronnie Bucknum became the pioneer of victory at Michigan International Speedway when he won the speedway's first event, a 250-mile USAC-sanctioned open wheel event, by finishing a full lap ahead of Mario Andretti. At MIS this Sunday, with an Andretti in the field again, another Bucknum will grace the starting lineup in the Firestone Indy 400.
On July 12, A.J. Foyt Racing announced that Jeff Bucknum would take over for Felipe Giaffone in the seat of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the remainder of the 2006 IRL IndyCar(R) Series season. Bucknum, whose debut took place on July 15 at Nashville Superspeedway, will attempt to enter the starting field of the Firestone Indy 400 at MIS on Sunday and add to his family's history at the speedway christened by his father's inaugural victory.
Ronnie Bucknum, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 56, experienced a diverse racing career throughout the 1960s. A victor in 52 of 56 West Coast sports car events in 1962 and 1963, Bucknum joined Honda for the 1964 Formula One season, where he stayed for three seasons and entered 11 Grand Prix races. Following his stay in Formula One, Bucknum ventured to the world of Indy Cars, where he ran in the Indianapolis 500 three times and secured the lone win of his career at MIS in the fall of 1968.
Jeff Bucknum, 40, comes to MIS for the first time with several IndyCar starts under his belt. As a road course substitute driver for A.J. Foyt IV last season, Bucknum finished 10th at Infineon and 11th at Watkins Glen. Bucknum's 2005 campaign also saw starts at Indianapolis and Twin Ring Motegi. In May, he started in his second Indianapolis 500, finishing 32nd. After recently competing on road courses in the American LeMans Series, Bucknum looks forward to the challenge of oval racing.
"I don't have a lack of confidence when it comes to ovals but I'm smart enough to know I need someone to tell me the things that I don't know because of my lack of experience," said Bucknum. "A.J. (Foyt) is one of the best when it comes to the oval tracks and teaching drivers to run the ovals. This is the best opportunity I could ask for."
Seeing as how the young Bucknum's career has experienced some of the same variety as his father's, Jeff Bucknum likely would not mind taking the family similarities one step further -- into Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway.
Tickets are still available for the Firestone Indy 400 at MIS on July 30, with children 12 and under admitted free for the event.