James Bickford, the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year is scheduled to make a limited run of eight races in 2018 in the Pacific Coast Challenge Series, a Northern California touring series for Super Late Models. Bickford, a two-time winner in the K&N Pro Series West, will be piloting the No. 35 Kamps Propane/Slidebelts entry for Scott Family Racing in an April 20 testing session before his debut on June 23 at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, California.
“This opportunity came in about February, and I’ve been friends with the Scotts and Matt Scott is currently the driver, but due to other commitments with Bill McAnally Racing (Scott is the Car Chief for Derek Kraus), I was given the opportunity to fill in for him for the races he won’t be able to attend while he’s working with the No. 19 team,” said Bickford. “It couldn’t be done without Kamps Propane and Slidebelts, and I’m just really looking forward to getting back into the car.”
Bickford, an alumnus of NASCAR Next, finished a career-high fifth in points in 2014 in the K&N Pro Series West. He stepped away from the division in 2016 due to lack of funding. According to Bickford, there were a lot of close deals that ultimately didn’t work out. He credits those as part of a huge life experience to go through and to find his life without racing.
“There’s pros and cons to every situation. I haven’t stopped working at trying to gather sponsorship to go back racing and trying to get that initial funding I need to get back into racing, but that’s proven to be a very difficult thing to do,” he said.
In the meanwhile, Bickford has been a Richard Petty Driving Experience instructor, traveling to the various speedways across the nation. However, there have also been discussions behind closed doors with different Camping World Truck Series teams and XFINITY Series teams, both of which are also part of Bickford’s long-term goals, yet nothing has come into fruition – yet.
Although his current schedule states that he’ll be running up to eight races, Bickford stated that his schedule could be expanded if funding allows, but for now they will be sticking to the current schedule. Meanwhile, on his April 20 test, Bickford pointed out that he’ll be using the test to get himself acquainted with stock cars again.
“There’s never been a time in my career where I haven’t been able to get accustomed quickly,” said Bickford. “But I’d rather be doing that on a test session at Shasta Speedway, looking for speed and getting back to that edge we need. We’re going to be working hard at that session and Matt will be racing the car on April 21.”