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Making a name for James Bickford within NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West is a huge step in that direction after winning his first race at State Line Speedway in Idaho earlier this month. In just his seventh series’ start, Bickford raced past former champion Greg Pursley en route to capturing his first career win.
Turning 16 in March, Bickford is the cousin of four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. So earning his first win is a big deal in making his own mark within the sport.
Pursley and David Mayhew tangled together on lap 134, collecting Dylan Lupton the race leader and Bickford’s teammate. Pursley assumed the lead, while Mayhew restarted in seventh and Lupton in ninth, setting up Bickford’s chance at improving his best finish of fourth at Iowa Speedway.
Three laps later, Bickford focused his winning move on passing Pursley.
“I knew I had a chance at it if I could just get by him,” Bickford said. “I did everything I could – all my effort was into that first corner – and we ended up pulling out in front of him and clearing him.”
“I knew once we got to the high line that there was no stopping us, and we took the checkered flag for the first time.”
That pass earned the respect of the 2011 series champion Pursley.
“He (Bickford) did a great job, he had a really good car tonight.” Pursley said. “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.”
“He did a good job. He’s a good little racer, and something to look at here in the future.”
Winning his first race and earning the respect of a champion veteran goes a long way in making Bickford’s mark within NASCAR.