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Aug 28, 2014 - 07:39 AM
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Bickford Closing In On NASCAR K&N West Rookie Title
Posted by: newsla on Aug 28, 2014 - 07:34 AM
Bickford Closing In On NASCAR K&N West Rookie Title

James Bickford, the 16-year-old driver of the Sunrise Ford Racing/Interstate Plastics Ford, is inching closer to the NASCAR K&N West Rookie of the Year title as the tour comes to Kern County Raceway Park for the Bakersfield 150 on Saturday.


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Bickford, 16, of Napa, leads his closest challenger, Rich DeLong III, by 25 points with only four races remaining. That is a comfortable margin considering the formula for awarding rookie points in the series. The top-finishing rookie receives 10 points and each rookie finishing lower receives one less point for each rookie position. All candidates except Bickford and DeLong have been mathematically eliminated.

But Rookie of the Year was only one of Bickford's goals as he moved to the K&N Series from Whelen Late Model track champion at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., where he won seven of the last eight races in 2013.

Currently he sits fifth in overall points with one win, five top-5's and seven top-10's in 10 starts during the 14-race season. And since the road course race at Sonoma in June, Bickford's average finishing position is third, which is highest in the series.

"We finished sixth here at Kern County in May, but I believe we can do better this time," said Bickford. He was in contention for the victory in May but fell back in the closing laps as the result of being tapped by another car.

"I feel like I know this half-mile a little better now, so I'm just going to be patient and give it my best for the 150 laps," Bickford said. "Bill Sedgwick, my crew chief, has been outstanding in the way he has set up the car and given me advice during the races. So I feel we can accomplish a lot in the final four races.

After the race at Bakersfield, the series moves to Miller Motorsports Park, a road course in Tooele, Utah, on Sept. 13. Then it's on to one-third-mile All American Speedway in Roseville on Oct. 11 before closing the season at one-mile Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 6.

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