NAPA, Calif. — James Bickford, who won the NASCAR Whelen All American late model championship at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., will move up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this season.
Bickford, who turns 16 in March, will drive the No. 6 Ford for Bob Bruncati, who is president of the Sunrise Ford Racing Division. Bruncati’s team has always been among the more competitive in the series, having already won two K&N West championships.
“I was in class at school when my dad texted me that Mr. Bruncati had chosen me as his driver,” Bickford said. “I almost jumped out of my seat and I’ve been walking on air ever since.”
Bickford started racing quarter midgets when he was five years old and continued in those cars through 2010, winning 16 championships and more than 200 main events.
In 2011 he moved to a Legend Car where he became Legend of the Pacific Rookie of the Year as well as semi-pro champion. In 2012, Bickford finished third in the Legend of the Pacific Pro Division with 10 top-five finishes in 15 starts.
With primary sponsorship from Buffalo’s Shipping Post, Bickford moved to the NASCAR Whelen All American late models in 2013 and grabbed a victory only four starts into the season, becoming the youngest driver to win at Roseville in the track’s 58-year history. Bickford won five more races and rookie-of-the-year award. He maintained his consistency throughout the year, finishing in the top five in all 12 events, with his final victory clinching the track championship.
Bickford was asked to test one of Bruncati’s cars at Irwindale Speedway.
“James turned great speeds from time he took to the track until the test was finished,” Bruncati said. “The kid is so talented and so smooth on the track. In short, he’s the most talented young driver I’ve seen in a long, long time.”