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Monday, August 31, 2015

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

On Saturday, August 22, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returned to Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, CO for the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150. After starting fifth on the grid, James suffered a small collision and rounded out the race with a tenth place finish. Take a small look into Team Bickford's race weekend.

Friday, August 21, 2015
James flew into the Denver International Airport early Friday morning. He waited for his crew to arrive and (to no surprise) spent the early afternoon watching NASCAR events on TV.

Once James and the Sunrise Ford crew reached Dacono, they made a short stop at a local Mexican restaurant. He remained with Sunrise Ford teammate no. 9 Ryan Partridge for the rest of the evening. 

He and Partridge, 27, have a friendly rivalry on the track but remain close friends. James described Partridge as someone he likes to spend time with and who is a good role model. The pair roomed together during the weekend’s stay in Dacono.

Saturday, August 22, 2015
9:00AM: The NASCAR K&N West garage opened at Colorado National Speedway.

12:00PM – 12:45PM: Regarding first practice of the day, James said: “We actually weren’t too good…We were loose entering the corners and had trouble fixing it.” With the issues at hand, James sat P10 after first practice with a best lap of 17.529 seconds. 

1:45PM – 2:30PM: After altering the setup of the car, Team Bickford gave the car new tires and he advanced to P8 in final practice with a best lap of 17.031 seconds. “Second practice wasn’t too bad, but wasn’t what I was expected...I thought we could get a little more out of the car,” he said. 

5:30PM – 6:15PM: James qualified P5 for the night's race with a best lap of 16.795 seconds.

7:15PM: James participated in a mandatory NASCAR autograph signing with the rest of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

8:15PM: Driver introductions took place. 

8:30PM – 9:30PM: James started fifth on the grid for the NASCAR K&N West NAPA Auto Parts 150 and tottered between fourth and fifth place for almost the entire first half of the event. “Then on lap… 60, the #55 car [Blake Williams] got in the corner too deep and hit me really hard, at my left-rear quarter panel and spun me out.” Due to James’ spin-out, he was forced to the back of the field, and restarted P16 (of 16 cars).
“I don’t know what happened to our car. We just fell off the face of the map ever since our car spun out. [The collision] might’ve damaged..or broke something, and that affected us. I don’t know what happened…We couldn’t even pass the slowest of cars and we got lapped and it was a disaster from there on out.” 
James ended the race with a 10th-place finish. “Even with a top-ten finish, that pretty much kicked us out of the championship hunt.” From this place forward, Team Bickford plans to focus on wins. 

“It’s a real big bummer. We were on the cusp of having a championship run and…it just takes two bad races in a row to completely wreck those chances. So we’re gonna go to Meridian [Speedway]…and hopefully have a lot better finish because we have three really good races coming up.” 

James has three final races to finish the 2015 K&N West season. His next race will take place at Meridian Speedway (Meridian, ID) on Saturday, September 5, followed by events at All American Speedway (Roseville, CA) and Phoenix International Raceway.

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