Bickford’s Fast Pedigree Helped Win NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race at Stateline

 
 
James Bickford, cousin of Jeff Gordon, celebrates his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory at Stateline Speedway in Post Falls, Idaho

James Bickford, cousin of Jeff Gordon, celebrates his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory at Stateline Speedway in Post Falls, Idaho

16-year-old driver, James Bickford, took the lead from Greg Pursley with four laps to go in the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150.

It was Bickford’s seventh career start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. His previous best finish was fourth place at Iowa Speedway in May.

Greg Pursley was leading the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 in his Gene Price Motorsports Ford but with 4 laps to go James Bickford drove the #6 car past him

Greg Pursley was leading the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 in his Gene Price Motorsports Ford but with 4 laps to go James Bickford drove the #6 car past him

“I knew I had a chance at it if I could just get by him,” Bickford said of sizing up Pursley on the final restart. “I did everything I could – all of my effort was into that first corner – and we ended up pulling out in front of him and clearing him.”

Pursley was in the lead on the final restart of the race on lap 143. Bickford made his move to the lead three laps later. He led only four laps in the race, the final four.

“I knew once we got to the high line that there was no stopping us,” Bickford said, “and we took the checkered flag for the first time.”

Braeden Havens qualified fastest in his #82 Chevrolet and earned himself the 21 Means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Company Pole Award

Braeden Havens qualified fastest in his #82 Chevrolet and earned himself the 21 Means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Company Pole Award

Pursley finished in second place. It was his seventh top-five finish in seven K&N Pro Series West races. “He [Bickford] did a great job, he had a really good car tonight,” Pursley said after the race on Saturday night. “That last restart there with five to go, I knew his car was better than mine and I tried to hold him off for a little bit but I was just way too loose.”

The rookie, 16-year-old, Nicole Behar finished sixth place and matched the highest finish for a female driver in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West history

The rookie, 16-year-old, Nicole Behar finished sixth place and matched the highest finish for a female driver in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West history

Pursley added to his lead in the K&N Pro Series West standings. He is 27 points ahead of Dylan Lupton. Bickford is in fifth place and the highest ranking rookie in the K&N Pro Series standings. He is 74 points behind Pursley.

“He did a good job,” Pursley said. “He’s a good little racer, and something to look at here in the future.” Brandon McReynolds finished in third place, his fifth top-five finish of the K&N Pro Series West season. “We need to be a little better moving forward,” McReynolds said. “We’re really proud of our NAPA Toyota guys. It’s a step in the right direction. We just need to take that next step and we will be right there.” Braeden Havens won the pole, but David Mayhew, who started on the front row, claimed the lead on the first lap.

Mayhew was out front for the first 96 laps of the race. Lupton passed Mayhew for the lead on lap 97, but only held it for two laps.

Mayhew reclaimed the lead for another 32 laps on lap 100. Lupton again jumped out front on lap 133, but a crash on lap 134 that knocked Lupton to ninth place set up a restart.

Pursley led the restart and was out front for 12 laps. Bickford made the pass for the win on lap 146. Havens crossed the finish line in fourth place, followed by Mayhew in fifth.

Nicole Behar was sixth, matching the highest finish for a female driver in K&N Pro Series West history. Three other female drivers have finished sixth in a K&N Pro Series West race, most recently by Hannah Newhouse in 2012.

The next race on the K&N Pro Series West is the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at Colorado National Speedway on July 26.


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