MESQUITE, Texas — The 1,000th feature for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV came with a first-time winner as Washington’s J.J. Hickle stormed into victory lane on night one of the 48th annual Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals.
The 156th different winner with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network, the Brodix Rookie of the Year contender worked slower traffic to perfection for his Devil’s Bowl triumph Friday night.
“It means everything,” Hickle said. “This sets the stage, and this is why we came out here. It proves to all of us that, yes, we do belong out here. It’s an honor, and hopefully, we can keep this going.”
Chasing Danny Jennings, the first 10 laps, the No. 1j found his road blocked. Seeing a nearly one-second advantage evaporate in an instant, Hickle worked into the lead on lap 11, with Seth Bergman also gaining the advantage for second on lap 12.
“I just had to go where they’re not. Ivan gave me an awesome race car,” Hickle added. “I could drive this thing anywhere on the track and just bide my time. I knew I was pretty good off of four, so I just tried to be smooth.”
Following a lap-13 red flag, Hickle had company as Seth Bergman charged the low line through the first and second turns. Unable to get the advance, clean air played to Hickle’s advantage as the Ivan, and Jane Worden owned No. 63 steadily pulled away.
Into traffic with five laps to run, Bergman, like Borden 10 laps earlier, closed the gap in no time. Stalking Hickle, the two were inseparable before the caution lights came on. Red on the restart as Dylan Westbrook took flight in the third turn, the ensuing restart went single file with Seth again charging hard into the first turn.
Keeping momentum over the Evergreen Coffee Co. No. 23, Hickle opened up his advantage to 1.164 seconds to become the sixth different Washington winner.
Bergman held on for second over Blake Hahn, with Scott Bogucki rolling from 10th to fourth while Matt Covington raced from 13th to fifth.
A field of 37 teams from 10 states and three countries took part in Friday’s Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals event.
Feature (25 Laps): 1. 63-JJ Hickle; 2. 23-Seth Bergman; 3. 52-Blake Hahn; 4. 28-Scott Bogucki; 5. 95-Matt Covington; 6. 9-Chase Randall; 7. 11-Roger Crockett; 8. 1J-Danny Jennings; 9. 74B-Jake Bubak; 10. 72S-Sammy Swindell; 11. 45B-Casey Burkham; 12. 19-Colby Thornhill; 13. 17B-Ryan Bickett; 14. 8-Devon Borden; 15. 44-Chris Martin; 16. 22X-Steven Shebester; 17. 47X-Dylan Westbrook; 18. 0-Eric Baldaccini; 19. 88-Travis Reber; 20. 2X-Tucker Doughty; 21. 24-Garet Williamson; 22. 45-Martin Edwards; 23. 77X-Alex Hill; 24. (DNS) 11X-John Carney II