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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

Interstate Plastics sponsored no. 6 James Bickford set out to take on the previously championed Stateline Speedway on Saturday, July 11th in Post Falls, Idaho. Team James Bickford had a major comeback and first season win following an unfortunate loss at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, June 30th.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returned to the quarter-mile track for the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 150, where Bickford clinched the championship for the second consecutive year after leading 151 laps of the 158-lap-race. The Napa native received his first K&N West career title at Stateline Speedway in 2014.

Interstate Plastics has tons of EXCLUSIVE footage of the day’s events, including the night’s win! Check it out here, and read below for more details.

Saturday, July 11, 2015
8:00am: James and Tom arrived to the track early on Saturday morning after staying at the home of James’ God Father, Bill Haase. They were welcomed to the track by on onslaught of rain, so James stayed dry in his trailer for a majority of the morning.

10:00am - 10:30am: The no. 6 Team Bickford car went through tech inspection.

James described the long, wet morning as “slow.” After the car went through tech inspection, James was fitted into his new driver lounge located in teammate Ryan Partridge’s no. 9 Sunrise Ford hauler. James’ former driver’s lounge (located in the no. 6 Sunrise Ford hauler) is being revamped into car owner Bob Bruncati’s full-time office.

1:00pm – 1:45pm: After first practice of the day leading up to the NAPA 150, James sat P8 with a best lap of 13.964 seconds.

He said, “…We were pretty slow just like always in first practice. We were P8 on the board out of 18. That’s usual for us because we don’t have the new tires like the rookies do for first practice. So we’re always going to be a little bit slower.”

2:45pm – 3:30pm: He then finished on-top in P1 after second practice with a best lap of 13.848. James attributed the success of second practice to “switching things up and putting down the tire pressure.”

5:30pm – 5:45pm: James attended a meeting with his Crew Chief Bill Sedgewick, and prepared for pre-qualifying inspection. Watch it here.

6:00pm - 6:45pm: After drawing 14th to qualify, James took the Pole to race in the NASCAR K&N West NAPA 150. His Sunrise Ford Racing teammate, no. 9 Ryan Partridge, qualified P2. It was a great start to the night for the Sunrise Ford/ Interstate Plastics Team!

About the Pole, James said:
“I knew we had a really fast car and I sacrificed the first timed lap... to get the second lap in qualifying. Because the tires don’t come in until lap six, so you have to do some special stuff to try and get the tires to come in, so I actually…purposely made the car slide through the corners to try and get the tires to come in, and it ended up working…We ran a tenth faster than the rest of the field…We cleared the field and that was great. That’s the first Pole we’ve ever had. I was so happy, I was screaming.”
8:30pm - 9:00pm: James attended driver introductions.

9:00pm - 10:00pm: The NASCAR K&N West NAPA 150 began. James described, “When you’re on the Pole you’re able to control the race. So not only were we able to control it, but I ran the slowest pace I could up in front. So if anyone tried to pass me, I’d speed up and then they’d stay behind. We had a dominant car…Anything I wanted to do, I could.”

During the night’s race, James took home the win. His description was very confident: “Unless someone took me out I don’t think there’s any way I could’ve lost that race.” 

Team Bickford’s win at Stateline Speedway was crucial for his 2015 season career on the track for the K&N West championship. James added:
“I knew that if we didn’t win, we’d be out of the championship hunt. That would’ve been it… I walked into the day like, ‘We have to win and we have to do everything we can to win. And if we don’t, it’ll be over.’ This race was different than last year because I knew I had to win. So when I won, it was kind of like ‘Heck yeah! Let’s move onto the next one.’”
 Watch the video of Team Bickford in Victory Lane.

Bickford now sits in sixth place in Series standings, with only 13 points separating the first five positions.

10:00pm: After a great win, James was excited to sign autographs for tons of fans!

Team Bickford now has all sights set on Iowa Speedway, for a NASCAR K&N East and West combination race occurring on July 31st.

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