MESQUITE, Texas — Taking the broom to the field at the 48th annual Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals, lapped traffic was again the ally of J.J. Hickle, who won for the second consecutive night with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network at Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
“I just can’t thank my car owners enough. Pat, Jimmy, everyone has just been working their butts off,” stated Hickle. “Dylan was really good all night. It was kind of one groove in one and two, but three and four you could move around, so I just tried to pace him, and he just got caught behind a lapper, and that put me in the catbird seat, so it worked out for us.”
Trailing Dylan Westbrook the opening 17 laps, Hickle took the field three-wide down the front straightaway to advance fifth to second on the start to put himself into the chaser’s position. Consistently trailing by just under a half-second before a lap-eight caution flag, Hickle tried for the lead on the restart, but the red lights came on as Martin Edwards tipped over in the fourth turn.
Single file on the next restart since a lap was not completed before the red, Hickle worked to keep pace with varying lines around the Devil’s Bowl. Clean air to the advantage of Westbrook, the Hills Racing No. 47x rode comfortably around the hub of the half-mile, but traffic would again be the difference for the AFEX Graphics No. 63.
Working to the back bumper of Tucker Doughty as the field completed lap 16, Westbrook’s pace slowed as he looked for room to run. Giving Hickle back nearly a half-second of lost time, the Nitro 54 Variety No. 47x looked low again on the slower car, only to get caught up through the third and fourth turns.
Rolling around the No. 47x for the point, Westbrook kept Hickle within striking distance for the next few laps, but a couple of quick moves through traffic was enough to begin pulling away, with Hickle winning by 2.675 seconds.
Westbrook, Roger Crockett, Matt Covington and Scott Bogucki rounded out the top five.
Feature (25 Laps): 1. 63-J.J. Hickle; 2. 47X-Dylan Westbrook; 3. 11-Roger Crockett; 4. 95-Matt Covington; 5. 28-Scott Bogucki; 6. 9-Chase Randall; 7. 52-Blake Hahn; 8. 74B-Jake Bubak; 9. 1J-Danny Jennings; 10. 24-Garet Williamson; 11. 20G-Noah Gass; 12. 23-Seth Bergman; 13. 17B-Ryan Bickett; 14. 8M-Kade Morton; 15. 19-Colby Thornhill; 16. 8-Devon Borden; 17. 2X-Tucker Doughty; 18. 45B-Casey Burkham; 19. 22X-Steven Shebester; 20. (DNF) 45-Martin Edwards; 21. (DNF) 12H-Tony Bruce Jr; 22. (DNF) 88-Travis Reber; 23. (DNF) 0-Eric Baldaccini