Sprint car driver J.J. Hickle was born into a racing family, as his father competed in stock cars. “He raced those cars until I was five years old and then retired to help me when I started driving quarter-midgets,” J.J. recalled.
“Dad did more than just act as my crew chief; he was also a major cash provider for the team much of the time,” Hickle added. “I could never have done it without him.”
J.J. noted that when he was seven, his father took him to Washington’s Skagit Speedway to see the sprint cars.
“I told dad right then that I wanted to drive one of those cars someday,” he said.
Hickle began his racing career in quarter-midgets, and achieved successes during his nine years of competition. Hickle was competitive at all levels, which included winning two Quarter Midgets of America national titles, along with a number of top-fives and top-10’s in national competitions.
DOB: – July 15, 1990
HOMETOWN: – Quilcene, Wash.
SERIES: – ASCS winged sprint cars
SPONSORS: – Jane and Ivan Worden (car owners)
There were also a number of QMA Regional wins, along with numerous local track titles. In all, he earned approximately 50 feature wins, along with several top-fives and top-10’s.
He was 14 in his last season of competition in the quarter-midgets.
“That might seem like a long time in those small cars, but I wasn’t very big and was always able to wiggle in and out of them,” he explained.
Hickle made a jump to 360 winged sprint cars, and began competing at Grays Harbor Raceway, in addition to competing in events with the Northern Sprint Tour.
There were a couple wins in 2008 when he hauled halfway across the country in a 38-day excursion to see what Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway was all about.
“It was very tough, that’s for sure,” Hickle remembered. Competing in the 360 Knoxville Nationals, he finished 14th in his preliminary night A main, then 17th in the B main on Saturday.
He finished in the B main on his prelim night of the 410 Knoxville Nationals, then won the E main on Saturday night, ending his night in the D main.
In 2012, Hickle won the 360 sprint car track championship at Grays Harbor Raceway.
Two years later, he earned three wins in Oregon and California, as well as finished second in the ASCS Northwest Region points.
The following season, Hickle experienced a serious accident when he jumped a tire and took a high flyer. The car landed on the frame rails and the impact crushed three vertebrae, costing him several months of seat time but, fortunately, no paralysis.
In 2016, Hickle was back in action with six top-threes and 13 top-fives.
Hickle recalled an interesting accomplishment in 2017, when he won four races for three different car owners. Then, while driving a Canadian sprinter, he won the 62nd annual Jim Albert Memorial Gold Cup at Castrol Raceway, sanctioned by the Northwest Challenge Series. That season saw four wins and 12 top-threes.
In 2018, there was another consistent season with four wins and 11 top-threes.
In 2019, in the final two laps of the $10,000-to-win Bob’s Burgers & Brew Summer Nationals at Skagit Speedway, Hickle passed both Seth Bergman and Jason Solwold to earn the win in climactic fashion.
He earned two wins and 11 top-threes, including a third in the Jim Albert Memorial Gold Cup at Castrol Raceway.
This season, J.J. earned a win at Lakeside Speedway on the opening night of ASCS Sprint Week, and then went on to capture the overall Sprint Week title.
His hope for the future is to find an opportunity to run the full Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour schedule.