Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bickford Looks for Home Track Win
Saturday in Sonoma

Bickford will look for a home track win Saturday in Sonoma.
 (Getty Images for NASCAR)

In professional sports, playing a home game is considered an advantage for the competitors.

For James Bickford, driver of the No. 6 Sunrise Ford Ford in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West, this weekend’s Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway can’t come soon enough. The sixteen-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, currently seventh in the series championship points standings, lives just 15 minutes from the track in Napa, California.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this race,” Bickford said. “Sonoma presents a lot of challenges, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Saturday’s race will be Bickford’s first on a road course, and he expects a strong contingent of family and friends to be at the track. He will also be carrying a bit of veteran’s knowledge into the event, courtesy of his cousin, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

“He took me around the course in a rental car when they were here for a tire test, and told me what he does in a Sprint Cup car in every corner,” Bickford said of Gordon, who has five wins at Sonoma and nine road course victories in his career, most all-time in NASCAR’s premier series.

Bickford said the first three races in his inaugural K&N Pro Series West season were “a little rough,” but his two most recent outings have been encouraging for him and the entire team.

“At Iowa, we had a solid fourth-place finish among the West cars, and at Kern County, we ran near the front all night and finished sixth. We are definitely headed in the right direction,” Bickford said.

Bickford knows getting his first win of the season on the twisty, 1.99-mile road course won’t be easy.

“There is zero room for mistakes, and you have to stay focused every single lap.”

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