Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kenseth Family Enjoys Victory Lane

The Kenseth family in victory lane @KySpeedway - Congrats!
(via @bobdillner)

Matt Kenseth's fuel-only pit road gamble helped him beat Jimmie Johnson late and win Sunday's rescheduled 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. A race that was Johnson's to lose ultimately became Kenseth's series-high fourth victory of the season even though he passed on getting new tires following the race's ninth caution.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Earnhardt's Granddaughter to Race as No. 3

Twelve-year-old Karsyn Elledge proud to carry on family's tradition in racing

SONOMA, Calif. -- Her name and car number are familiar signs of racing success, and Dale Earnhardt's 12-year-old granddaughter Karsyn Elledge announced plans Saturday to enter the family business full throttle.

Wearing a bright pink SpongeBob SquarePants driving suit, the petite eighth-grader stood in the Sonoma Raceway Winner's Circle and proudly unveiled the new No. 3 Nickelodeon-sponsored pink Mini Outlaw sprint car she'll use barnstorming the West Coast for her summer vacation.

Elledge has been racing for four years and has dominated the Mini Outlaw Box Stock class at her local Millbridge, N.C., short track, winning five of eight races this season. Her father, former Sprint Cup Series crew chief Jimmy Elledge, felt it a good idea to test her elsewhere, and the Nickelodeon sponsorship cemented the deal.

"It's very fun and not just because it's my family's thing," Elledge said of racing. "It's interesting and so much fun. And, I'm thankful for the opportunity."

As for the famous car number that donned her grandfather's championship cars, Elledge said, "I definitely am proud of the No. 3. I didn't get to witness what went on with this number, but I've only heard how great it was and I'm excited to carry on."

While Elledge comes from a lineage of racing royalty -- her mother is Earnhardt's daughter Kelley and her father is a former Cup winning crew chief -- she couldn't be more down to earth.

For someone on a first-name basis with Danica Patrick and who calls the sport's Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., 'uncle,' Elledge seems very much a typical pre-teen.

And that includes her list of heroes.

"(Danica Patrick) is like my idol because she's a girl and she races and she shows that girls can do it, too. That's why I like her," Elledge said. "She always asks me how my racing's going and wishes me luck. It's always fun when I talk to her because … she's Danica Patrick."

When Elledge isn't racing she said she spends time on her phone or computer, likes to ride her bike and visit with her horse. She insists her classmates in school don't pay much attention to her racing.

And Elledge couldn't be more humble about her early success and promising future.

"I've been to Victory Lane a couple times and I've had some not-so-good nights too," Elledge said smiling.

Her father got a bit emotional during the announcement, looking over to his daughter and acknowledging, "I guess she's growing up."

"You think, 'wow, this is a 12-year-old kid,' and you realize life is progressing faster than you think.

"I did not expect it. I took her to a race with me and she thought they were cool cars, and ignored her about it, but she kept asking and kept asking. So we got her a car. I didn't know if she'd stick with it or even be competitive at it. And we've evolved to this today."

Gannis Wins Coveted Spot
in the Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge

Cassie Gannis, sponsored by Phoenix Marketing Associates and recent winner of the 2012 NASCAR K&N Series West Most Popular Driver, has another win under her belt; a Top Ten spot in the Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge. Ten contestants were chosen through an online contest where fans voted for their favorite driver. The winner will compete in PEAK's three-day driving school competition, coached by Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick of Scottsdale and Michael Waltrip, Veteran NASCAR driver.

From July 9 – 11, 2013, the competition between the ten drivers will consist of a three-day on track experience and competition with nine talent evaluation modules. Exclusive TV coverage will air in August 2013 on SpeedTV. The competition will provide an opportunity for one of the ten drivers to become the next Michael Waltrip Racing Development "PEAK Dream Driver". The winner will then compete as a competitively licensed driver in a PEAK-sponsored stock car in a sanctioned race of Sponsor's choosing in the summer or fall of 2013.

Upon receiving a personal phone call from Michael Waltrip, Cassie said, “This is an amazing opportunity for me that Peak and Waltrip Racing is offering! I can’t thank the fans enough supporting me! Michael Waltrip used Twitter to announce the news:

“Michael Waltrip ‏@mw55, "Fantastic job and thank you to the over 700 racers that entered the @peakauto challenge. We have our top 10 for 2013."

The grand prize winner will be selected and entered into an extensive journey including preparation, training and the opportunity to earn his/her license. The winner will also earn his/herspot in a PEAK sponsored stock car with a race team in a sanctioned race to prove that s/he has what it takes to become Michael Waltrip Racing's next stock car driver.

About Cassie:

Cassie Gannis, sponsored by Phoenix Marketing Associates, was recently voted Most Popular Driver of the Year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West for 2012. Twenty-one year old Cassie Gannis has been a standout since first hitting the tracks at age 10. Ms. Gannis started in the Quarter Midget series, consistently placing in the Top 5 and went on to the Legends Series, earning Rookie of the Year in 2005. In 2007, celebrating her 16th birthday, Ms. Gannis obtained a NASCAR license to race in the NASCAR Super Late Model Series. She became the youngest female driver to ever race at Tucson Raceway Park and place consistently in the Top 10.

By 2008, Cassie was racing “The Bullring” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and placing in the Top 10. Her experience includes racing in Arizona, Nevada and California.

Passionate about community service, Cassie has made it a strong part of her racing endeavors. She is a guest host for the HopeKids of AZ and a board member of the “Breath of Life Grand Prix” event for cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Arizona. She is a spokesperson and guest speaker on Teen Driving Safety issues and Car Maintenance Safety (Boys and Girls Clubs of Arizona Community Safety Days, AA of Southern California Safety Events and CHP Designated Driver Program), attends several safety days at military bases in Arizona and California each year (101 Days of Summer Military Tour) and continues to bring attention to issues of health, safety and education. For her commitment to safety and keeping with the highest standards and patriotism, she was awarded the Safety Chesty Award Certificate of Commendation by the Third Marine Aircraft Wing by Thomas L Conant Major General, U.S. Marine Corps Commanding General 3d Marine Aircraft Wing. Cassie continues her work with Rusty Wallace Racing Experience as a professional racecar driver providing NASCAR ride-a-longs for corporate clients in team building exercises.

Source — Kathy Gannis

Monday, June 24, 2013

This boy sure does love his daddy!

NASCAR Driver Blake Koch With Son Carter

This boy sure does love his daddy! (From Blake Koch's Facebook Page)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

C Average or Better

Fans enjoy NASCAR event: June 22. 

Devry Scott’s mom told him that if he got a C average or better in school, she would fulfill a dream of his and take him to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200 race on Saturday.

Thousands of fans flocked to Road America Saturday for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200.

The 16-year-old Plymouth resident held up his end of the bargain and he, along with his four siblings, mom and grandpa, found a seat near the racers’ final stretch for the big race.

“I like everything about (NASCAR),” Scott said. “I love the speed. I love the competition. It’s just one of the best sports I can watch.

“Heck, getting out there and doing what they do is pretty impressive. Cars going over 100 miles per hour, I mean, it’s intense out there and I give these drivers a lot of credit,” he said.

Thousands of spectators joined the Scott family throughout the course of the three-day event, said John Ewert, communications director for Road America.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Functional Formularies' "Liquid Hope"

NASCAR Racer, Dave Smith
Finds Hope for His Special Needs Daughter

Functional Formularies, the company responsible for creating the first commercial produced whole food, shelf stable, organic feeding tube formula, Liquid Hope, announced today their partnership with veteran NASCAR racer, Dave Smith in the Carneros 200 Pro Series West Race, which will take place on June 22 during the 25th Anniversary of the Toyota/Savemart 350 Weekend at the Sonoma Raceway. Smith will pilot the Naake-Klauer Motorsports-prepared no. 88 iON Camera Chevrolet in honor of his tube fed dependent daughter, Adrianna.

“For the last two years, my wife and I have searched tirelessly for a solution to get our special needs daughter the proper nutrition,” said Smith. “As a former premature baby, born at 3 ½ months early, Adrianna was never a good eater. Shortly after her first birthday, we were forced to have a feeding tube surgically placed in her stomach so that we could feed her. She was starving herself to death.”

Smith, who was disappointed in the commercially made formulas, looked for an alternative product so that Adrianna could thrive instead of just survive. He found what he searched for in Liquid Hope. “I couldn’t even bring myself to drink what I was pouring into my daughter’s system,” remarked Smith, “I was thrilled to find a real food product to replace those disgusting formulas”.

Robin Gentry McGee, founder of Functional Formularies, developed Liquid Hope after five years of research in Ohio and South Carolina. McGee was inspired to perfect an enteral formula when her father suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2005. In the hospital and nearing death, McGee, who has an extensive background in nutrition, sensed that her father’s chemical-laden feeding-tube formula was doing him more harm than good. As his health continued to decline with additional symptoms after his initial injury, McGee felt compelled to investigate finding him an organic whole foods formula for his feeding tube.

Following an extensive and thorough search, McGee was disheartened to discover that no such thing existed. With her own expertise with whole foods, and through some intensive brainstorming with her natural-foods colleagues, she created a feeding-tube formula that consisted of nothing but “real” food — nutritionally dense, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free whole food, with complex carbohydrates and no sugar added. She and her family affectionately dubbed the supplement “Liquid Hope.”

McGee agrees that in the creation of Liquid Hope, necessity was the mother of invention. “I did not set out to commercialize Liquid Hope. I merely wanted to help my father get better. I feel strongly that when given the right tools, the body has an innate wisdom for healing, and to this day, I question how that can happen with sugar-filled chemical water, which is the basis for most enteral food.”

“After I created this formula to help my dad, word began to get around about what I’d done, and I started to get many emails from others looking for the same thing I’d set out to find. Knowing from experience that such a product didn’t exist, I realized Liquid Hope could help so many others if it was commercially available. I deeply believe that my father’s illness allowed me to give a great gift to the world,” said McGee.

Smith is not the only athlete to find a miracle in Liquid Hope. Two former NFL players who suffer from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) — Oakland Raiders’ Steve Smith and New Orleans Saints’ Steve Gleason — have introduced the meal replacement into their diet in an attempt to stave off the effects of their debilitating disease. Gentry is part of a team of people known as “The Healers,” a group started by Dr. Craig Oster, who has lived with ALS for 18 years - a rarity - and attributes his survival to a mostly raw, whole-foods diet. In addition, Liquid Hope is being considered for use in clinical studies involving whole-foods nutrition and ALS outcomes.

With over 440,000 children and adults living with feeding tubes, Smith hopes to raise awareness of Liquid Hope with the donation of sponsorship on his no. 88 NASCAR this weekend in Sonoma.

Liquid Hope is currently available through McGee’s Web site,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

McMurray Makes Donation To Ronald McDonald House Charities

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver Jamie McMurray will donate $5,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of the Huron Valley “Hope Away from Home” campaign during his visit to families being helped by the local nonprofit.

Local McDonald’s owner/operators, Ronald McDonald and members of the RMHC of Huron Valley staff and families will be at the event to accept the generous donation, which will cover the cost of refurnishing one room in the Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor. McMurray, who drives the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS in the NSCS, is committing a total of $50,000 to local RMHC Chapters in the U.S.

“We are very humbled and honored by Jamie’s generous donation,” said Kim Kelly, executive director of RMHC of Huron Valley. “The families who stay at our Houses have children who are ill and have to spend weeks and sometimes months away from their homes. We help take away the stress of making meals and finding a place to stay and allow them to focus on what’s most important -- the healing of their child.”

McMurray will be driving the McDonald’s Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday, June 16, 2013, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. His “pit stop” to the Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor is the first of multiple visits to Ronald McDonald Houses nationwide as a part of the “Join Team McMurray” initiative. The initiative encourages McMurray fans to start their own online fundraising pages to encourage their friends and social networks to donate to the mission of the nonprofit.

The Chapter’s “Hope Away From Home” campaign began in 2010 and marked a milestone in December of 2011 with the opening of the Ronald McDonald House within C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The second phase of the campaign launched in February 2013, focusing on the renovation and refurbishment of the Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor on Washington Heights. With the renovation, the House will provide each of 29 families served each night larger, private and more comfortable accommodations.

To learn how you can support the families of children going through a medical crisis through the “Hope Away from Home” campaign, visit or to the “Join Team McMurray” visit .

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Huron Valley has served more than 18,000 families since opening the first Ronald McDonald House in Ann Arbor in 1985. Originally able to accommodate 24 families each night, an expansion in 1992 increased that number to 29. With the 2011 opening of the Ronald McDonald House within C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, the total number of rooms has increased to 41 for families between the two Ronald McDonald House locations in Ann Arbor. For more information, visit

NASCAR’s Greg Biffle Races to Victory

Give Kids A Smile paint scheme

Father’s Day victory: NASCAR’s Greg Biffle and his daughter show off their smiles before the start of the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16. Mr. Biffle won the race in his No. 16 3M car that featured a Give Kids A Smile paint scheme.
Smiles: Dr. Robert Faiella, ADA president, left, and Dr. Jeff Dalin, Give Kids A Smile cofounder, right, present NASCAR’s Greg Biffle with the dinosaur teaching tool used at the GKAS/NASCAR dental education booth during race weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
Education day: NASCAR’s Greg Biffle meets with kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lenawee County, Mich., during a GKAS/NASCAR dental education event June 15 at Michigan International Speedway. The kids received oral health education and goody bags with education materials, floss, toothpaste, Trident gum, a die-cast model of Greg’s No. 16 3M car with the GKAS logo and an ARM & HAMMER Spinbrush, donated by Church & Dwight. GKAS/NASCAR sponsors include the ADA and ADA Foundation, Henry Schein Cares and 3M ESPE Dental.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day is a day honoring fathers and celebrated on the third Sunday of June. This special day celebrates both fatherhood and the importance of male parenting. Of course my favorite NASCAR Father / Son Duo would have to be my very own husband and son.

Moses Smith and his father Paul
"My earliest memories are of my dad working on his street/drag car or building his sand rail in the garage," Moses said. "He was always involved in motorsports as a hobby and I thought it would be cool if I could do it for a living," Smith said.

Paul has always been an all-encompassing family man and constant source of support for his two sons. Moses started working with his father, in a race team garage by the age of three.

However, for second place, the Earnhardts and Pettys tie as favorite NASCAR Fathers and Son.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. & Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

(photo credit =
Dale Sr. won a record-tying seven NASCAR championships during his career; his 76 wins place him fourth of all time. His career was highlighted by his memorable first victory at the Daytona 500 in 1998. (Sadly, the driver of the No. 3 car died after a crash on the final lap at Daytona in 2001.)

Dale Jr. has carried on his father's driving legacy, making his debut on the Winston Cup circuit in 2000. In 2003, he finished third in the championship standings, and in 2004, Dale Jr. won the Daytona 500 six years to the day after his father's victory there.

Cool fact: When Dale Sr. and sons Dale Jr. and Kerry all competed in the 2000 Pepsi 400, it marked just the second time a father had raced against two sons.

Lee & Richard Petty

Lee, Richard, Kyle, and Adam Petty
(photo credit =

Lee Petty was NASCAR's first real superstar, winning three drivers' championships between 1954 and 1959. He also won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Richard Petty shares the record for most drivers' championships, having won seven between 1967 and 1979. He retired in 1992 with 200 career wins (the most ever) and joined his dad in the Hall of Fame in 1997. (Sadly, the Pettys suffered the loss of Adam Petty, NASCAR’s first fourth-generation driver on May 12, 2000. The young driver was practicing for the Nationwide Series at the New Hampshire International Speedway when his throttle stuck wide open, causing the car to hit the outside wall.)

Cool fact: Both Pettys were named among the Top 50 NASCAR drivers of all time in 1998.

Honorable Mention

Butch Gilliland, the 1997 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion and winner of 13 victories in the division. His then-crew chief, son David Gilliland, currently competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. David Gilliland still runs an occasional K&N Pro Series race. Butch must have raised him right, because David is one of the most polite and approachable drivers I have had the pleasure of meeting.

NASCAR Race Mom with a very nice David Gilliland at Sonoma Raceway (6/24/2011)
Cool fact:  David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Ford Fusion for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series, had a career-best second-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2013, pushing his teammate David Ragan to a surprising win.

Child, you outgrew my lap,
but never my heart.
Happy Father’s Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

R.I.P - Race In Peace

Jason Leffler (September 16, 1975 – June 12, 2013)

Jason Leffler, affectionately known as "lefTurn," died June 12 after a crashing on a dirt track in New Jersey. On June 9, Leffler competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Matthew O'Haren, USA TODAY Sports


 The USAC Benevolent Foundation has today announced a $10,000 grant in the memory of the late USAC racing champion Jason Leffler, who lost his life Wednesday night in a racing accident in New Jersey.

 The 501-3C-designated Foundation will also be accepting additional donations earmarked for usage by Jason's son Charlie Dean and Charlie's mother Allison.

A designated cap amount to be announced by the Board of Directors of the Foundation will also result in additional dollar-for-dollar matching funds for this purpose.

 "We are devastated by Jasons loss and recognize his long and loyal commitment to USAC racing and to the sport of auto racing in general," says USAC CEO/President Kevin Miller. "We encourage everyone to participate in this worthwhile endeavor as we honor the memory of one of our most cherished champions and appreciate the Foundation Board for their efforts in making this all possible."

All contributions earmarked for the Leffler program, which may include the Charlie Dean Leffler Education Fund, may be directed to the USAC Benevolent Foundation, c/o Executive Director Bill Marvel, 4910 W. 16th Street Speedway, Speedway, Ind. 46224. Bill may be reached at 859-749-0646 or at . Donations should be earmarked for this program.

Jason Leffler and son, Charlie Dean. (Photo source:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

NASCAR High School Ceremony

Kip Childress,Director - K&N Pro Series East, gives NASCAR Driver Dylan Kwasniewski his diploma.
Dylan has made many sacrifices over the years to pursue his career. He's missed birthday parties, homecoming games and proms every weekend he chooses to race. The biggest and hardest was this last weekend when he missed out on walking for his HS graduation. Thank you to NASCAR for giving him a moment to relish in his HS accomplishments by handing him his cap and diploma at driver intros in Iowa. So proud. . . . via Jen Kwasniewski's Facebook Page.

Friday, June 7, 2013

NASCAR Next to be Unveiled at Iowa

The NASCAR Next 2013 driver roster will be unveiled today at the Iowa Speedway. 

NASCAR Next is an industry initiative that is the evolution of the Next9 program which has helped to spotlight NASCAR’s up-and-coming talent since 2011 like current national series competitors Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. 

Fans with access to the speedway’s Fan Walk are welcome to attend the announcement, which will take place in Victory Lane starting at 2:45 p.m. CT. 

Those not in attendance are encouraged join in the Twitter conversation with hashtag #NASCARNext.

2012 NASCAR Next Nine (Jennifer Coleman/NASCAR)
In the photo above: Sergio Pena, Daniel Suarez, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Blaney, Corey LaJoie, Cameron Hayley, and bottom row, from left, Chase Elliott, Dylan Kwasniewski and Kyle Larson.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bickford Steps Up At All-American

Jeff Gordon’s 15-Year-Old Cousin Gets First NASCAR Win

June 5, 2013 - 3:28pm

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — James Bickford is spending the summer between his freshman and sophomore years of high school just as he has for the last 10 summers. He’s getting ready for his next race.

His father, Tom, figures the 15-year-old has competed in about 600 races since he started driving at age five. He won 68 of 75 races entered in just one of three different quarter midget divisions he raced in during 2007.

Young Bickford started his career in quarter midgets the same as his cousin, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Bickford placed third in his first race, one-upping Gordon’s first-ever race finish of fourth. Tom Bickford’s brother John is Gordon’s stepfather.

James moved to full-size race cars this year. He’s a rookie in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models at All-American Speedway, a third-mile paved oval at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville, Calif. He cleared a huge hurdle May 11 when he won his first career NASCAR feature. It was a huge improvement over the uncertainty he felt in his first late model start only a few weeks earlier.

“I practiced a couple of times, but there was no competition on the track,” Bickford said. “Opening night I knew how to drive the car, but I didn’t know how to race it. I had a lot of it figured out by the end of the night. I learned a lot but still have a lot to learn.”

He finished fourth in his first Late Model feature. Three race nights later he didn’t think he had a chance on the night he won.

“We qualified ninth fastest and started in the back of the feature. I thought the car was terrible. It had a huge push. All if a sudden car started coming in. It must have been the tires. I slowly started working my way toward the front. I got some breaks and I was in the right place at the right time.”

Bickford took the lead on Lap 44 of the 60-lap feature race and held onto it through a restart with three laps to go to take the win.

“We got to Victory Lane with no scratches on the car,” Bickford said.

The Napa, Calif., driver and his family team raced about 48 weeks a year for a decade. He worked his way from quarter midgets through bandoleros and then legends. In total he’s won 30 championships, 15 of them in quarter midgets.

Bickford knew he wanted to drive race cars by age three. He was born in 1998, the year Gordon, from nearby Vallejo, Calif., won his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

“James begged me to take him to the races when he was three,” his dad said. “Then he started begging me to drive race cars.”

He got his first quarter midget as a belated fifth birthday present.

After a lot of success in quarter midgets, Bickford arrived at a crossroad in 2009. It was time to advance and bandolero cars were a natural next step. The expense of a new car and equipment exceeded the ability of a reasonable family budget.

“I told James we just couldn’t do it anymore,” Tom Bickford said.

“Dad said if I could come up with the money we’d keep racing,” James said. “I was desperate to keep going. My racing career was about to end.”

He was an eleven-year-old in need of about $5,000 to keep racing. He did some entrepreneurial thinking and devised a plan in 2009 to raise sponsorship funds. He organized, promoted, marketed and hosted a golf benefit he called the KGA (Kids Golf Association) Tournament. The event was held at Vintner’s Golf Club in Yountville, Calif. Bickford’s mom Teresa waited in the car while the boy walked into the club’s office to sell the idea to the general manager. After the second meeting, Bickford walked out of GM Jason Boldt’s office with a sweet deal to use the course and facilities. Boldt said the fifth grader was professional and determined in his sales pitch and event planning.

“We had a $50 entry fee and sold hole sponsorships for $100 each,” Bickford said, noting that cousin Jeff chipped in as a hole sponsor and was a donor to a fund-raising raffle.

With capital in hand, Bickford was soon behind the wheel of a pre-owned Bandolero car. One of the golf tournament sponsors, Buffalo’s Shipping Post, became a car sponsor. The Napa, Calif., company specializes in wine shipping, and is a retailer of Jeff Gordon-brand wines. Bickford went on to post six wins in 12 Bandolero starts in 2009. He moved to Legends cars 2011-12.

Bickford had an unexpected setback late last August that ended his legends season and disrupted his plans for 2013.

The day before he was to be fitted for a seat in a late model that was under consideration for this year, he broke an arm playing high school football.

“I ended up at the bottom of a pile,” Bickford said. “As soon as I tried to get up I knew I broke it.”

“The last thing the car owner said to me when we set up the fitting was ‘don’t get hurt,’” Bickford said. “Maybe that jinxed me. I learned two things from the experience. Don’t get jinxed, and don’t play football if you’re 5’3” and weigh 120 pounds.”

Although sidelined from driving, Bickford attended the last five races of his legends’ racing season.

“When you’re racing legends, you feel like you’re part of a community,” Bickford said. “I wanted to support everyone else. It was the proper thing to do.”

During the layoff, the Bickfords decided to field their own late model in 2013 with primary sponsorship from Buffalo’s Shipping Post.

In five starts this year, Bickford’s record at All-American includes the win, four top-fives and five top-10s. He’s second in track points, 31 behind leader Ron Chunn. Late Models are NASCAR Finalist Division IV at the track.

Bickford’s Chevrolet is based on a Lefthander chassis and powered by a used crate engine. Tom Bickford is car owner and co-crew chief. Rich Fields is co-crew chief and spotter. Mark Olson rounds out the crew. In addition to Buffalo’s Shipping Post/, sponsors include Redline Synthetic Oil, Eibach Springs and Catch Your Eye MotorSport Graphics.

Bickford is hoping for more wins while learning as much as he can this year.

“We’re second in track points, but we’re about 30 points behind,” Bickford said. “The point race is way in the back of my mind. The biggest thing is to keep learning.”

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR