Jeff Bucknum brings winning heritage to Portland

Portland, OR. (July 27, 1999) --- While he shares a winning heritage with his legendary father, Jeff Bucknum is quickly making a name for himself as one of professional racing's most promising rising stars. As the son of late Formula One, Indy...

Portland, OR. (July 27, 1999) --- While he shares a winning heritage with his legendary father, Jeff Bucknum is quickly making a name for himself as one of professional racing's most promising rising stars. As the son of late Formula One, Indy Car, Trans-Am and sports car legend Ronnie Bucknum, Jeff has clearly lived up to his family name with a consistent record of wins, poles and front-running performances in virtually every type of car he's driven. This weekend, Jeff Bucknum continues his assault on the Star Formula Mazda series in his second appearance at Portland International Raceway, following a string of podium finishes including a win on the Irwindale oval, and a second-place finish from the pole at Sears Point just days ago. "Portland is the type of track that really suits my driving style," said Bucknum, who is currently third overall in the Star Mazda Series West Division Championship as well as the series' Best Western Championship. "It's very fast and smooth, yet it has some technical aspects that require a lot of skill to get right. I actually tested here a couple of years ago in an Indy Lights car, which helped me out for last year's Mazda race. Since the Mazdas don't have as much power, it's extremely important to not scrub off any speed and to be as smooth as possible. And I feel that that's one of my strong points." Last year at Portland's double-race header, Bucknum captured two podiums (3rd and 2nd) on his way to third overall in the series championship and second in the rookie points battle. This year, again driving for World Speed Motorsports, he has recorded six podiums, one win and one pole thus far, from eight races in the #14 WSM/Shames Construction/Red Line Oil Formula Mazda. While Jeff's racing roots can be traced to his father, who was best known as Honda's first Formula One driver and who also drove Roger Penske's famed Sunoco Camaro in the Trans-Am series, he got a relatively late start in racing following several years on the professional surfing tour. Like many of today's brightest rising stars, Jeff honed his driving skills on the highly competitive southern California karting circuit. Naturally, he found that racing was in his blood and running up front was in his heart. The result was a number of victories and championships, as well as the opportunity to move into the Skip Barber Formula Ford series. The transition into Formula Fords in 1992 reinforced Jeff's winning ways as he captured his first victory in his very first race. He followed up with another victory in his second race, this time in the rain. His first full season of Formula Ford competition in 1994 resulted in ten podium finishes from twelve races, three wins, and second (by just one point) in the series championship. Naturally, his front-running form continued for his pro racing debut in 1995 by qualifying on the front row in his first Barber Dodge Pro Series race. He then went on to capture his first professional victory later in the season with a convincing flag-to-flag win at Mid-Ohio. Another season of Barber Dodge featured more podium finishes, followed by several opportunities to test in Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic. Bucknum currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, and when not on the road for the Star Mazda series, serves as the chief instructor for the Derek Daly Performance Driving Academy. Joining Bucknum in the World Speed Motorsports Star Mazda stable are series' first-timers Grant Ryley, Pierre Ehret and Alex Figge as well as returning veterans Bryan Willman, Frank McCormick, and Ginni Swanton. World Speed Motorsports' dominance of the Formula Mazda series includes six championship and five pro series Rookie-of-the-Year titles since 1991. Most recently, the team captured five wins (Mike Miller - 4, Bucknum - 1) and two poles (Bucknum) en route to second (Miller) and third (Bucknum) in the 1998 Star Formula Mazda Pro Series championship. The Star Mazda Series race at Portland International Raceway is scheduled for Saturday, July 31, part of the Professional Sports Car American LeMans Series weekend.

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Grant Ryley , Pierre Ehret , Alex Figge , Skip Barber , Bryan Willman , Jeff Bucknum , Mike Miller , Derek Daly