Determined Hickle takes Dan Laber opener at Billings

By Andrew Kunasascs-frontier

SHEPHERD, Mont. – J.J. Hickle was a man on a mission Friday, overcoming earlier miscues and passing Joe Ramaker with less than three laps remaining to win the opening night race at the Dan Laber Memorial at Billings Motorsports Park, earning his second ASCS Frontier Region sprint car victory in three weeks.

The Quilcene, Wash. driver started the 30-lap affair in the sixth position and quickly moved up to second place behind outside front row starter Ramaker. Hickle momentarily had taken the lead from Ramaker as they worked their way around slower cars, but the pass was negated by yellow flag for a stalled car on Lap 8. A Lap 10 restart saw Hickle dive low into Turn 3 in an effort to get around Ramaker, but he made contact with the infield and got his car out of shape in Turn 4, spinning out in front of the entire field. Hickle managed to avoid getting hit by other cars and kept his car going, but lost a number of positions.

Hickle, almost unfazed by the near disaster, went right back at it and was back to fourth place quickly. Another untimely caution flag wiped out a pass for third place, but Hickle continued his relentless march, eventually getting another shot in traffic at Ramaker, who was dealing with a lost cylinder in his motor. On Lap 28, Ramaker was held up by a slower car in Turn 3 of the 3/8-mile clay oval, allowing Hickle, who had gotten a run down the front stretch, to pounce as they rounded Turns 3 and 4.

Ramaker tried to work his way around Hickle after losing the lead but was unable to do so. It was Hickle’s second win in a short but successful partnership with the Peterson Family out of Great Falls, Montana. Hickle had only first piloted the No. 23n Ostrich-powered Rocket on Labor Day weekend, winning the Sunday race at Electric City Speedway on August 31.

“It’s been great,” Hickle said of his working relationship with the Peterson team. “First class stuff and I get a chance to win every night. I got to calm down (after the spin out). I know I got the car I need to get back by these guys.”

Hickle’s win in his first ever visit to Billings Motorsports Park put him atop the Dan Laber Memorial point standings after the first night of competition. Saturday’s show is a separate event, but is worth the same for points. Points over the weekend determine the winner of the Dan Laber Memorial, run in memory of the driver who lost his life at the old Yellowstone Speedway in Billings in 1988. Hickle is looking to join inaugural event winner Steve Beitler and Marc Huson as drivers from Washington to get their names on the permanent trophy.

Ramaker, a winner of six races this year, finished second aboard the Ramaker Racing No. 98 Ostrich-powered J&J. He unofficially increased his points lead to 112 tallies over Lethbridge, Alberta’s Kelly Miller, all but locking up his third Montana sprint car championship and his first under the ASCS banner. Ramaker had won Big Sky Sprint Tour titles in 2008 and 2009.

“I lost a cylinder in the first few laps, so I could never lift (to keep momentum up),” Ramaker said. “I thought I was probably going to drop out within the first five laps, but it kept going.”

Laurel, Montana’s Phil Dietz, the 2013 ASCS Frontier Region champion, made a late race pass around Billings driver David Hoiness to finish third in the Prevost Racing No. 72 RFast-powered Gf1. The model of consistency lately, it was Dietz’s fifth podium finish in the last six races. Hoiness took fourth in the Hoiness Racing No. 27dd Wesmar-powered J&J. Bill Boyce, who has won the Dan Laber Memorial a record three times, came from the tenth starting position to finish fifth aboard his own No. 1 Shark-powered Eagle.

Jeremy McCune, Miller, Trever Kirkland, Clint Anderson and Steve Nelson rounded out the Top 10. Nelson never started his heat race, but manged to climb from the back of the B-Feature field to take the fourth and final transfer spot. McCune’s finish was good enough to move him past Jerry Brey for fifth place in the ASCS Frontier Region point standings.

Roger Cummings won the 12-lap B-Feature event, taking Shad Petersen, Damon McCune and Nelson with him to the main event.

Heat races earlier in the evening were won by Dietz, Kirkland, Ramaker and Hickle. Hickle was tops in the passing points system used by ASCS and took part in the eight-driver re-draw for starting positions in the feature, joined in that by Dietz, Brey, Hoiness, Ramaker, Kirkland, McCune and James Sires.

The ASCS Frontier Region wraps up its 2014 season with the Dan Laber Memorial finale Saturday night at Billings Motorsports Park.

The Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series, presented in part by Speedmart Inc. is a winged 360 dirt sprint car tour racing around the state of Montana and beyond. More information on the ASCS Frontier Region can be found online at or you can also follow the series on Facebook at The national website of the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour presented by MAVTV American Real is

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ASCS Frontier Region
Dan Laber Memorial – Night 1
Billings Motorsports Park
Shepherd, MT
September 12, 2014


27 cars

Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 72 Phil Dietz, 2. 7x Paxton Lambrect, 3. 27dd David Hoiness, 4. 9a Clint Anderson, 5. 00 Roger Cummings, 6. 77x Nate Maxwell, 7. 4 Junior Nelson.

Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 37 Trever Kirkland, 2. 12 Jerry Brey, 3. 44k Kelly Miller, 4. 99 Lany Reber, 5. 38 Mike Dapra, 6. 77 Mark Sweet, DNS – X Steve Nelson.

Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. 98 Joe Ramaker, 2. 0J Jeremy McCune, 3. 1 Bill Boyce, 4. 28 Joe Perry, 5. 2 Shad Petersen, 6. 44 Damon McCune, DNS – 4s Adam Speckman.

Heat 4 (8 laps): 1. 23n J.J. Hickle, 2. 15 James Sires, 3. 35 Chip Roe, 4. 4n Johnny Nelson, 5. 90 D.J. Brink, 6. 11 Cliff Nelson.

B-Feature (12 laps): 1. 00 Roger Cummings, 2. 2 Shad Petersen, 3. 44 Damon McCune, 4. X Steve Nelson, 5. 77x Nate Maxwell, 6. 4s Adam Speckman, 7. 38 Mike Dapra, 8. 11 Cliff Nelson, 9. 77 Mark Sweet, 10. 4 Junior Nelson, DNS – 90 D.J. Brink. First four finishers transfer to A-Feature.

A-Feature (30 laps): 1. 23n J.J. Hickle, 2. 98 Joe Ramaker, 3. 72 Phil Dietz, 4. 27dd David Hoiness, 5. 1 Bill Boyce, 6. 0J Jeremy McCune, 7. 44k Kelly Miller, 8. 37 Trever Kirkland, 9. 9a Clint Anderson, 10. X Steve Nelson, 11. 44 Damon McCune, 12. 7x Paxton Lambrect, 13. 99 Lany Reber, 14. 00 Roger Cummings, 15. 2 Shad Petersen, 16. 35 Chip Roe, 17. 4n Johnny Nelson, 18. 28 Joe Perry, 19. 15 James Sires, 20. 12 Jerry Brey.

Lap leaders: Joe Ramaker 1-27, J.J. Hickle 28-30

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Dan Laber Memorial points
After Night 1

1. J.J. Hickle, 150
2. Joe Ramaker, 142
3. Phil Dietz, 135
4. David Hoiness, 130
5. Bill Boyce, 125
6. Jeremy McCune, 122
7. Kelly Miller, 119
8. Trever Kirkland, 116
9. Clint Anderson, 113
10. Steve Nelson, 110

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Dan Laber Memorial winners

1988 – Steve Beitler
1989 – Steve Celar
1990 – Steve Celar
1991 – Bill Boyce
1992 – Wade Fleming
1993 – Marc Huson
1994 – Bill Boyce
2000 – Bill Boyce
2012 – Phil Dietz
2013 – Randi Miller

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ASCS Frontier Region
Unofficial Top 10 points after 9/12

1. Joe Ramaker, 2100
2. Kelly Miller, 1988
3. Phil Dietz, 1984
4. Trever Kirkland, 1850
5. Jeremy McCune, 1788
6. Jerry Brey, 1765
7. David Hoiness, 1559
8. Joe Perry, 1539
(tie) Damon McCune, 1539
10. Paxton Lambrect, 1423

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ASCS Frontier Region
2014 Race Winners

May 16: Joe Ramaker at Electric City Speedway
May 17: T.J. Hartman at Electric City Speedway
June 13: Rained out at Gallatin Speedway
June 14: Joe Ramaker at Billings Motorsports Park
June 20: Rained out at Electric City Speedway
June 21: Joe Ramaker at Electric City Speedway
July 11: Brad Loyet at Electric City Speedway (National Tour race)
July 12: Jeff Swindell at Billings Motorsports Park (National Tour race)
July 18: Brad Loyet at Black Hills Speedway (National Tour race, non-points for Frontier Region)
July 25: Trever Kirkland at Gallatin Speedway
July 26: Joe Ramaker at Billings Motorsports Park
August 15: Joe Ramaker at Gallatin Speedway
August 16: Kelly Miller at Billings Motorsports Park
August 29: Bill Boyce at Electric City Speedway
August 30: Dennis MacEachern at Electric City Speedway
August 31: J.J. Hickle at Electric City Speedway
September 6: Joe Ramaker at Gallatin Speedway
September 12: J.J. Hickle at Billings Motorsports Park

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American Sprint Car Series – Frontier Region

Billings Motorsports Park

Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour presented by MAVTV American Real

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Speedmart Inc. – presenting sponsor of ASCS Frontier Region