Interstate Plastics Sponsored Bickford Eager To Run Second Race On His "Home Track"

SONOMA, CA. (June 23) -?After narrowly missing victory in his last race, James Bickford, 17, of nearby Napa, can hardly wait until he starts his engine for the Carneros 200 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday afternoon. He finished second at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, CA, losing the lead with only five laps remaining on May 30.

Bickford, recently named to the 2015 class of NASCAR Next, a group of 12 up-and-coming drivers considered by NASCAR to have a great future, finished 24th in his first-ever appearanceat Sonoma in 2014, falling victim to transmission failure in the Bob Bruncati Racing Ford sponsored by Sunrise Ford and Interstate Plastics.

Before being chosen by Bruncati in 2014, Bickford was the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Late Model champion at All-American Speedway. In 2014, he was Rookie of the Year in K&N West and finished fifth in overall points.This year, he stands fifth in overall points - only 27 behind first place with eight races remaining.

"Having more experience on road courses is definitely going to help me this year," Bickford said. "We came back to finish third on the road course in Utah last year. I've had lots of time practicing with McGhee Motorsports, a driving instruction school at Sonoma, and my shifting is definitely improved. That's very important here because you have to shift at least 15 times each lap."

Bickford also has been given some important tips from his cousin, four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who has five wins at Sonoma and is considered "king of the road courses."

"Qualifying is very important, especially at Sonoma," Bickford said. "If you start way back in the field it's more difficult to work your way to the front. It's important on other tracks, but it's a priority here. There are no road course specialists in this series, so that essentially means that all of us are on a level playing field. You just have to concentrate and make as few mistakes as possible because driver error will really hurt you. I always have to keep in mind that there are only two or three places on this track that you can make a pass, and the toughest spots on the track are turn 7 and turn 11."

The field of 39 cars includes several drivers from the K&N East Series and also Austin Dillon and Trevor Bayne from the NASCAR Cup Series.

The 200-kilometer race, consisting of 64 laps around the 1.99-mile track will begin at 2 p.m. (PDT), and the delayed telecast will be Friday, July 4. Times will be listed.

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