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J.J. Hickle Wins The 48th Devil’s Bowl Winter Nationals
Bryan Hulbert – MESQUITE, Texas (October 16, 2021) Three trips to the Devil's Bowl Speedway in 2021 and three trips to Victory Lane later, J.J. Hickle added his name to the list of winners at the 48th running of the Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals and Lanny Edward Memorial with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network.
"I grew up racing on bigger tracks and just feel at home here," commented Hickle. "It's Jane's [Worden] birthday this weekend, so we had to get her the checkered flag she was looking for. It's awesome to come to such a prestigious place like this and be fast."
Hickle's fifth SawBlade.com A-Feature victory of the season, the Washington shoe, was the third driver to lead laps Saturday night. Finally rolling laps after the third start, the opening 12 laps went the way of Johnny Herrera.
Wheeling, the SawBlade.com No. 28 for Scott Bogucki, the wily veteran, found traffic on Lap 10. Reducing a half straightaway lead down to car lengths, Dylan Westbrook was on Herrera for the point in less than a lap. Working around slower cars, Dylan Westbrook found the line on the No. 28, with the AFEX Graphics No. 63 following into second. Working low on the Hills Racing No. 47x, Hickle shot under Westbrook for the top spot on Lap 15.
On the pass, Hickle said, "Dylan and I have raced a lot against each other of the past few months, and that was a deal where I was trying to figure out what he's thinking and see if I can make something else work and it looked like he was rolling the middle pretty well, so I started working the bottom and started gaining and just focused on staying with him until the right time where I could clear him. With a guy like that, if you show him the bottom, he's going to go there. I just had to be patient and not show my hand too early."
Caution on Lap 17, Hickle had a new pursuer in the form of Blake Hahn. Locked in the championship battle with the No. 52, clean air was the advantage for J.J. as the field went back to green. Putting over a second on Hahn before the race's final stoppage working Lap 23, the restart put the field back to Lap 22.
Trailed by Hann for a couple of laps, Hickle steadily pulled away over the final five rotations, with the Jane and Ivan Worden owned entry finding the finish 2.685-seconds ahead of Blake, with Sam Hafertepe, Jr. rolling from 12th to third in the Hills Racing No. 15h. Dylan Westbrook ended up fourth with Johnny Herrera fending off Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. for fifth.
The NOS Energy Drink No. 17 of Stenhouse in sixth was followed by Kade Morton in seventh. Iowa's Chris Martin was eighth, with Jack Dover ninth. Chance Morton completed the top ten.
A field of 24 was on hand for the Winter Nationals and Lanny Edward Memorial. A trio of SCE Gaskets Heat Races went to Martin Edwards, Johnny Herrera, and Dylan Westbrook. No provisional starts were needed.
The final two rounds of the 2021 season are next, with Hahn and Hickle only 52 points apart. The championship will be settled at the COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires on Friday, October 22, and Saturday, October 23 at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark. Tickets and event information are online at http://www.i-30speedway.com. The race will be shown exclusively on FloRacing.com.
The 2021 season marks the 30th year of competition for the American Sprint Car Series. Spearheaded by the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network, the ASCS Nation also includes 11 Regional Tours that encompass both wing and non-wing competition.
For other news, notes, and information on any of the tours under the ASCS banner, log onto http://www.ascsracing.com, follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@LucasOilASCS).
Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour
Car Count: 24
SCE Gaskets Heat Races (Everyone goes to the A-Feature)
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 45-Martin Edwards; 2. 52-Blake Hahn; 3. 63-JJ Hickle; 4. 2X-Tucker Doughty; 5. 44-Chris Martin; 6. 45B-Casey Burkham; 7. 17B-Ryan Bickett; 8. 76-Zane Lawrence
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 28-Johnny Herrera; 2. 95-Matt Covington; 3. 8M-Kade Morton; 4. 53-Jack Dover; 5. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 6. 19-Scott Evans; 7. 7M-Chance Morton; 8. 3W-Willy Reed
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 47X-Dylan Westbrook; 2. 67-Tyler Courtney; 3. 17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr; 4. 23B-Steven Shebester; 5. 22X-Marcus Thomas; 6. 12H-Tony Bruce Jr; 7. 88-Travis Reber; 8. 6-Kaden Taylor
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 63-JJ Hickle; 2. 52-Blake Hahn; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 4. 47X-Dylan Westbrook; 5. 28-Johnny Herrera; 6. 17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr; 7. 8M-Kade Morton; 8. 44-Chris Martin; 9. 53-Jack Dover; 10. 7M-Chance Morton; 11. 76-Zane Lawrence; 12. 3W-Willy Reed; 13. 88-Travis Reber; 14. 45B-Casey Burkham; 15. 45-Martin Edwards; 16. 17B-Ryan Bickett; 17. 2X-Tucker Doughty; 18. 23B-Steven Shebester; 19. 22X-Marcus Thomas; 20. 19-Scott Evans; 21. 12H-Tony Bruce Jr; 22. 95-Matt Covington; 23. 67-Tyler Courtney; 24. 6-Kaden Taylor
Lap Leader(s): Johnny Herrera 1-12; Dylan Westbrook 13-14; J.J. Hickle 15-30