Michele Bumgarner\'s Mazda \"Road To Indy\" debut proved to be a successful one after the Filipino-American race driver finished the last round of the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship series in the top 10 ahead of six other drivers last October 6.
Bumgarner\'s race in the penultimate round on October 5 had ended prematurely with eight more laps to go after she misjudged the curb of the chicane and sent the right rear end of her car into a wall.
Fortunately, her team, World Speed Motorsports, was able to repair her car for the final round the following day. Starting in 13th place, Bumgarner fought her way through the pack to finish the 13-lap race in ninth place, just two seconds behind her teammate and eighth-placer Kyle Kaiser. For climbing up the grid from 13th to ninth, Bumgarner was given the Staubli Award and the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award.
\"As a driver, you always want the best results,\" Bumgarner told Filipino motoring journalists whom Mazda Philippines gathered today to celebrate her Road To Indy debut. \"But this really was a warm-up for me, so to get the solid finish in Race 2, I\'m happy. I just want to thank everyone, especially Mazda Philippines for all the support and the love! It\'s been amazing.\"
Looking at her short stint in the 2013 season as a familiarization process for the series, Bumgarner is now getting ready for a full season next year, which will start in March 2014.
\"You have to look at the context of Michele\'s historical accomplishment to fully appreciate where she is now, and where she is heading,\" said Steven Tan, president of Mazda\'s distributor in the Philippines, Berjaya Auto Philippines. \"She came into the Pro Mazda Championship on the back foot, with far fewer testing and practice kilometers under her belt compared to the other drivers. So to finish ninth in her first race weekend is quite an achievement. Mazda has always been about pushing for ceaseless improvement and defying conventions. In Michele, we see someone who is capable of translating these ideals into success in the extremely competitive arena of motorsports.\"