From Andrew Kunas
Billings, MT — (May 29, 2015) — J.J. Hickle made a big statement Friday night at Billings Motorsports Park. He dominated the season opening ASCS Frontier Region main event, coming from the eighth starting position to take the checkered flag and then announced in victory lane that he’s going after the championship this season.
The Quilcene, Washington driver, who has been piloting the Great Falls, Montana based Peterson Racing No. 23n Ostrich-powered Rocket since last Labor Day weekend, has now found victory lane with the team three times in six starts with the Frontier Region since then, including Friday’s race.
Hickle, who won the evening’s second heat race, earned the most passing points but immediately drew the eighth starting position for the 25-lap A-Feature. No matter, Hickle still found himself going after Helena, Mont.’s Trever Kirkland for the lead fairly quickly, taking the lead on Lap 5 and never looking back from there on a track that got increasingly dry slick.
“It’s more fun winning from eighth!” Hickle jubilantly said in victory lane. “This car is awesome. Richie and Nubby (Peterson) put together a great car that can go anywhere. We managed to set the car up and slide the wing back (to adjust for the track) and we went from there.”
With Hickle living in and still racing his family’s car often in his home state of Washington, he was asked in victory lane what his intentions were for racing in the Frontier Region this year. He promptly responded by saying that he and the 23n team are going after the ASCS Frontier Region championship in 2015.
Kirkland, driving his own No. 37 Shark-powered J&J, gave up second place to Rapid City, South Dakota’s D.J. Brink for much of the latter half of the race but managed to get back by Brink at the checkered flag, but was clearly showing issues with his motor as he crossed the line. Kirkland was also involved in a fantastic duel with David Hoiness for the lead in the opening laps, but Lap 3 contact between the two, which Kirkland admitted was his mistake, sent Hoiness crashing off the back stretch and ending his night. Kirkland led the next couple of laps before yielding the top spot to Hickle.
Brink, who won the 2014 ASCS Frontier Region season finale at Billings, settled for third in the SMAC Motorsports No. 75 Parker-powered Maxim. Sixth starting Phil Dietz of Laurel, Mont. finished fourth in the Dietz Prevost Racing No. 72 Kistler-powered Maxim. Lethbridge, Alberta’s Kelly Miller finished fifth in the KDM Motorsports No. 2jr AMS-powered Schnee.
Jeremy Mccune, Skyler Gee, Joe Perry, Josh Ostermiller and Shane Liebig rounded out the Top 10. Liebig was behind the wheel of a sprint car for the first time in nine years and came away with a solid tenth place finish.
Steve Nelson of Billings won the 12-lap B-Feature, taking Anthony Farnsworth, Mike Sires and Roger Cummings with him to the A-Feature.
2014 ASCS Frontier Region champion Joe Ramaker crashed his car following the completion of Heat 2. Though he qualified for the A-Feature based on his heat race passing points, he did not start the main event. Gee won the evening’s first heat race over Miller and Brink won the third and final heat race.
The ASCS Frontier Region returns to action tonight at Billings Motorsports Park for another full program of heat races and main events. Racing is scheduled for 7:00.
1. 23N – JJ Hickle
2. 37 – Trevor Kirkland
3. 72 – Phil Dietz
4. 99 – Skylar Gee
5. 28 – Joe Perry
6. 12 – Josh Ostermiller
7. 75 – DJ Brink
8. OJ – Jeremy McCune
9. 55 – Shane Lievig
10. 2JR – Kelly Miller
11. 10 – Anthony Farnsworth
12. 15 – James Sires
13. 38B – Bryan Brown
14. 33 – Travis Stortz
15. 0 – Roger Cummings
16. 6 – Steve Nelson
17. 7 – Mike Sires
18. 77 – Bob Shiplet
19. 27DD – David Hoiness