From Andrew Kunas
Billings, MT — (May 30, 2015) — If this weekend’s races are any indiciation, it could be a long year for everyone racing against J.J. Hickle and the Peterson Racing team in Big Sky Country. For the second straight night at Billings Motorsports Park, Hickle dominated the 25-lap ASCS Frontier Region sprint car main event and took the checkered flag on the opening weekend of the 2015 season.
The Quilcene, Washington driver led all 25 laps of the feature that went non-stop and was over in less than seven minutes. Hickle has led 46 out of 50 A-Feature laps to open the season aboard the Peterson Racing No. 23n Ostrich-powered Rocket. He took the checkered flag every time he saw the track this weekend, taking a heat race victory both nights as well.
“It was a good night for us. A great weekend,” said Hickle, who has won four times in seven starts with the ASCS Frontier Region, dating back to last Labor Day weekend, since climbing into the 23n, with three of those wins coming at Billings. After winning Friday’s feature at Billings Hickle said that even though he’ll have to drive several hours from his home state of Washington every weekend to do it, he and the Great Falls, Montana-based team are going after the 2015 series championship.
“Richie and Nubby (Peterson) give me a top notch car every night and I drive it as hard as I can. It’s been a great fit since I started.”
A track that was dry slick eventually began taking rubber, something that forced the drivers to drive the track differently as heavy traffic became an issue in the non-stop race. Hickle didn’t mind it.
“I love lapped traffic. We’re really good in it, so I was happy it went green to checkered,” said Hickle, who won from the pole position that he drew in the Top 8 re-draw after winning Friday’s race from eighth place.
Rapid City, South Dakota’s D.J. Brink, who won the 2014 season finale at Billings, ran second for much of the race before battling with and trading passes with Laurel, Mont.’s Phil Dietz. Dietz passed Brink for the position on Lap 18 as they raced through traffic, only to have Brink get back by him on the next circuit. Dietz, however, passed Brink for good on Lap 23 and finished second in the Dietz Prevost Racing No. 72 Kistler-powered Maxim, improving on his fourth place run on Friday.
“Not too bad (a night),” said Dietz, the four-time Montana champion who sits second in the point standings after this weekend’s races. “I think traffic worked to our advantage since I could see where J.J. and D.J. were going and I used it to get by D.J. eventually. I wish we had a couple of more laps, but J.J. did real well.”
Brink, who is not a regular with the ASCS Frontier Region but travels over when his schedule allows, finished third for the second straight night aboard the SMAC Motorsports No. 75 Parker-powered Maxim.
“We were decent, but we needed to be better to catch the 23. Most of the time traffic was good until the track took rubber, and then it got a little trickier as everyone was running where the rubber was.” Brink acknowledged. “Two Top 3’s and we rolled the car into the trailer. We’ll take it. I like racing out here with these guys.”
After finishing eighth on Friday, Billings driver Joe Perry took home fourth place in father Chuck’s No. 28 Santos & Sons-powered Maxim. For the second straight night Alberta’s Kelly Miller finished fifth in the KDM Motorsports No. 2jr AMS-powered Schnee.
Also for the second straight night Jeremy Mccune and Skyler Gee finished sixth and seventh, respectively. David Hoiness bounced back from a Friday night crash with an eighth place effort. Josh Ostermiller and Bryan Brown rounded out the Top 10.
Anthony Farnsworth of Newcastle, Wyoming won the 12-lap B-Feature, taking Bryan Brown, Trever Kirkland and James Sires with him to the A-Feature.
Like Hickle, Brink won his second heat race in as many nights as well, while Joe Perry scored his first of the season. Dietz, who charged from sixth to finish second to Brink in Heat 1, earned the top heat race points score with 113.
This weekend’s races at Billings Motorsports Park were originally scheduled for May 8th and 9th, but poor weather conditions and forecasts forced the postponement of those races. The ASCS Frontier Region moves onto Eletric City Speedway in Great Falls for races on Friday and Saturday, June 5th and 6th, also making up the races lost to bad weather on May 15th and 16th.
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 frontier.ascsracing.com or you can follow the series on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ascsfrontier. The national website of the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour presented by MAVTV American Real is http://www.ascsracing.com.
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American Sprint Car Series – Frontier Region
Billings Motorsports Park
May 30, 2015
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 75 D.J. Brink, 2. 72 Phil Dietz, 3. 27DD David Hoiness, 4. 6 Steve Nelson, 5. 32 Tyler Gabel, 6. 10 Anthony Farnsworth, 7. 38b Bryan Brown, 8. 2 Shad Petersen, 9. 37 Trever Kirkland (DNF).
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 23n J.J. Hickle, 2. 2jr Kelly Miller, 3. 0J Jeremy Mccune, 4. 99 Skyler Gee, 5. 14 Ben Holmberg, 6. 4 Junior Nelson, 7. 24 Leroy Brush, 8. 15 James Sires (DNF).
Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. 28 Joe Perry, 2. 12 Josh Ostermiller, 3. 77x Nate Maxwell, 4. 7 Mike Sires, 5. 00 Roger Cummings, 6. 55 Tyler Liebig, 7. 18 Seth Ostermiller, 8. 33 Travis Stortz (DNF).
High points: 72 Phil Dietz, 113
B-Feature (12 laps): 1. 10 Anthony Farnsworth, 2. 38b Bryan Brown, 3. 37 Trever Kirkland, 4. 15 James Sires, 5. 33 Travis Stortz, 6. 18 Seth Ostermiller, 7. 24 Leroy Brush, 8. 4 Junior Nelson (DNF), 9. 2 Shad Petersen (DNF). First four finishers transfer to A-Feature.
A-Feature (25 laps): 1. 23n J.J. Hickle, 2. 72 Phil Dietz, 3. 75 D.J. Brink, 4. 28 Joe Perry, 5. 2jr Kelly Miller, 6. 0J Jeremy Mccune, 7. 99 Skyler Gee, 8. 27DD David Hoiness, 9. 12 Josh Ostermiller, 10. 38b Bryan Brown, 11. 37 Trever Kirkland, 12. 10 Anthony Farnsworth, 13. 32 Tyler Gabel, 14. 55 Tyler Liebig, 15. 6 Steve Nelson, 16. 00 Roger Cummings, 17. 77x Nate Maxwell, 18. 14 Ben Holmberg, 19. 15 James Sires, 20. 7 Mike Sires.
Lap leaders: J.J. Hickle 1-25
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ASCS Frontier Region
Top 15 points
1. J.J. Hickle, 300
2. Phil Diez, 272
3. D.J. Brink, 270
4. Kelly Miller, 250
(tie) Trever Kirkland, 250
6. Joe Perry, 246
7. Jeremy Mccune, 244
8. Skyler Gee, 238
9. Josh Ostermiller, 226
10. Bryan Brown, 214
11. Anthony Farnsworth, 212
12. David Hoiness, 208
(tie) Steve Nelson, 208
14. Roger Cummings, 194
(tie) James Sires, 194