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Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Lap Around the Track with NASCAR’s James Bickford: Shasta Speedway

Interstate Plastics sponsored no. 6 James Bickford made a serious comeback in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this weekend thanks to a second place finish in Saturday’s race at Shasta Speedway. I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Team Bickford and caught tons of exclusive footage of their whereabouts leading up to the Bill Schmitt Memorial 150. Take a look at a weekend-in-the-life of NASCAR’s James Bickford and catch his second place win and interview from inside the Winner’s Circle. Watch it all here.

Friday, May 29, 2015
1:00pm – 2:00pm: James drove to Anderson, California with his dad, Tom, and mom, Teresa. He participated in Shasta Speedway’s Parade of Champions, where he waved to fans from inside of his Sunrise Ford hauler. The parade lasted just under an hour. About the parade, James said: “This was an absolutely awesome event that Shasta Speedway put on for the fans and it was a great way for drivers and fans to interact.”

2:00pm – 4:00pm: James and I sat in his hauler while he signed tons of gear for Interstate Plastics. He sang along to music from G-Eazy and J. Cole, two of his favorite rappers (Yes, there’s footage of thisJ). James told me: “I’ve tried so many times to give G-Eazy a shout out on T.V., but he’s never responded to me.” Then he gave a big smile and said: “Tomorrow I’ll try again when they interview me from inside the Winner’s Circle.” 

4:00pm – 9:00pm: NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Track Testing happened for the rest of the day. James ran about five sets of practice laps, coming back into the pit between each one to make adjustments to the set-up of his car. By the end of track testing, James was tied with about five other drivers for the day’s top-spot.

9:30pm: James, Tom, Teresa, Lindsay (James’ girlfriend) and I went out to dinner at Cicada Cantina in Redding. James ordered three meals for himself. When his food arrived, James laughed. His dad’s response: “Just so you know, James is an extremely cheap date.”

Saturday, May 30, 2015
7:30am: James woke up at Baymont Inn and Suites (Anderson, California), and drove with his dad to Shasta Speedway.

11:00am – 11:45am: James was P10 after the first practice of the day with a best time of 16.343 on lap 29. James said, “First practice was a great way for us to feel out the car at the beginning of the day. It gave us the info we needed to tell us we had a really great car.”

12:45pm – 1:15pm: James was P5 with a best time of 16.108 after final practice.

1:30pm: Tom Bickford led a group of Interstate Plastics customers on a great pit tour. The customers got to meet James, ask him a few questions and take pictures. They also got the rare chance to meet and interview legendary car owner Bob Bruncati.Watch the pit tour.

1:45pm: James’ no. 6 Ford Fusion went through qualifying inspection following the final practice set of the day.

3:15pm: James and his Crew Chief Bill Sedgwick attended a Driver/Crew Chief Meeting. At this time James drew 19th for qualifying. An awesome draw for Team Bickford!

4:15pm – 5:00pm: James qualified P2 in the night’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Bill Schmitt Memorial 150. He ran a 15.90 on the first lap and a 16.01 on the second. As he left the track, Bickford said over the radio: "Nice job, guys. It felt really good. Wish we could've gotten that last one, but we have a really, really great car. Let's do this!"

6:00pm – 6:30pm: James attended a mandatory NASCAR autograph session. All of the K&N West drivers lined up on the track with their cars and signed tons of stuff for the sold-out crowd at Shasta Speedway.Watch a bit of the autograph session.

6:30pm – 7:00pm: The VIP Interstate Plastics tent was lucky to have James make a guest appearance for an exclusive autograph-signing session. James signed a few driver cards, took some photographs and shook a lot of hands. The customers loved it!For James, the feeling was mutual: “It was so nice to meet all the people from our sponsor who support me and my team.”

7:45pm: James attended driver introductions.

8:00pm: Bickford started the Interstate Plastics/Sunrise Ford stock car second on the grid for the Lithia Toyota and NAPA Auto Parts Bill Schmitt Memorial 150. He stayed consistent at P2 until lap 92, where he then took the lead when no. 17 David Mayhew pulled off the track with mechanical issues. James cruised in the lead until Chris Eggleston, 26, tracked him downwith five laps remaining. Eggleston took the checkered flag only .705 seconds ahead of Bickfordat the end of the .375 mile track. Watch Bickford’s second place win and interview by NASCAR.
Regarding his second place finish, James said: “I was really disappointed with second. We really wanted that win, especially for all the Interstate [Plastics] people who came out to support us. But, it’s great to be disappointed about getting second; it means that our team is really progressing. I’m really excited about Sonoma [Raceway]. I think we’re going to do exceptionally well.” Team Bickford is currently ranked fifth in the 2015 K&N Pro Series West point standings.

Bickford’s next race is scheduled for June 27th at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. This race is poised to be one of the biggest of the season, with a special appearance by four-time Sprint Cup champion and three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon, Bickford’s paternal cousin. There you have it, Bickford fans! Get ready for a great weekend at Sonoma Raceway, June 27th and 28th.

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