Son of Ronnie Bucknum the American sportscar racer who became Honda's first Formula One driver back in the 1960's, Jeff competes in Indy Cars and Sports Prototypes.
Jeff was born into a family with a huge racing legacy but Jeff was too young to ever see his father, Ronnie Bucknum, compete. Ronnie Bucknum was an American sportscar racer who became Honda's first Formula One driver back in the 1960's.
Jeff’s first competitive activities were aimed at taming huge waves. At high school he began traveling the world competing on the World Surfing Championship Tour.
However he turned to racing and after winning a Championship and many races in Go Karts, Jeff drove a race car for the first time in 1993 at the Skip Barber three day racing school at Sears Point International Raceway in California. Immediately following the race school he raced in the Skip Barber Western Championships, and won his fair share of events over the next two years, finishing a close second place in the 1994 Championship.
1995 saw his debut in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. He caught many off guard when, at his first event, the daunting oval at Phoenix International Raceway, he qualified on the front row and narrowly missed a podium. Later in the season he led wire to wire at Mid Ohio to cap his first win in this ultra competitive series.
1996 brought another partial season in Barber Dodge Pro Series and even more hard fought battles culminating in a podium in his final event at Lime Rock Park. Jeff also performed testing duties for a top Indy Lights effort gaining high horsepower experience.
1997 and 1998 saw a return to more West Coast venues where he competed for the leading Star Mazda effort for two seasons, winning Championships and many events.
1999 saw a major change in direction as he joined long time friend Bryan Willman to form Team Bucknum Racing and fielding one of the most successful Star Mazda Race Teams in history. His driving took a back seat as he headed the organization, but took time to test cars in Formula Mazda and Toyota Atlantics.
In 2002, Team Bucknum Racing stepped up in class and effort to begin competing in the American LeMans Series Prototypes for the first time with a Pilbeam P2. Willman and Chris McMurry joined team leader Bucknum for these world class endurance events. For the next three years Bucknum accumulated three wins and many podiums while competing at some of the world’s finest race courses including Sebring, Road America, Mosport and Road Atlanta. Team Bucknum made its debut appearance at LeMans in 2003, running well but suffered a DNF.
Jeff joined Miracle Motorsports in 2005, providing him with a much more modern racecar than the Pilbeam and he made the most of the opportunity. His first race, the 12 Hours at Sebring brought him a victory and throughout the year Jeff led every event and collected three victories. This was complimented by an appearance at the Daytona 24. He competed in four Indy Racing League races in 2005, including the Indianapolis 500, with a best finish of 10th at Infineon Raceway.
In 2006, Bucknum teamed up with Ron Hemelgarn for his second Indy 500 appearance, in which he had the honor of being the month's first qualifier, but was involved in a second lap crash and finished 32nd.