Ronnie Bassett Jr. Picks Up Win for Team Dillon Racing
Bassett Jr. returned to Newport with unfinished business, this time behind the wheel of the #2 TDR Chevrolet. After struggles in practice, he qualified on the outside pole and played his cards right to capture the victory.
Sidelined at Hickory after his Newport wreck, Ronnie Bassett Jr. returned to the site of his last race with the UARA-STARS series to claim another victory Saturday night in an action packed race to the finish for Team Dillon Racing.
Although Bassett Jr. has collected multiple wins this season, this was the first without his Bassett Racing #04 Ford. Instead, he partnered with TDR at Newport to get behind the wheel of the #2 Chevrolet as a substitute for Tim George Jr. while he raced in Iowa.
Coming off a strong test session the week prior, the team started on a solid note during Friday’s practice posting the fourth quickest time. However when practice began Saturday the team struggled and just couldn’t seem to find the speed needed to get up front.
After making numerous adjustments, the team jumped from 18th in first practice, but was only able to climb to 7th in final practice after Bassett Jr. made his mock qualifying run at a 13.428.
They appeared to get the car dialed in as Ronnie Bassett Jr. took the track for qualifying and laid down a 12.996, picking up half a second from practice to claim the outside pole alongside Travis Swaim with a 12.954.
Although not able to grab the pole as he did last month, Bassett Jr. was beyond satisfied with his starting position and was prepared to tackle some unfinished business with a track he had yet to break a top three finish.
When the green flag waived for the Jeff’s Auto Sales 150, it was evident there were some strong contenders. From the start Ronnie Bassett Jr. and Travis Swaim proved to be able to put aside an on track vendetta that started one month prior on the Newport high banks.
At the halfway point, Bassett Jr. had fallen back and was running fifth. If you have taken notes from his previous wins this season, you know this is his typical “Bulldog” racing style. Bassett Jr. let the front runners play it out, and made his move jumping from fifth to second on the restart at lap 98 and began to challenge Scott Turlington for the lead.
It was a caution filled raced, but restarts appeared to be Bassett’s strong suit Saturday as he was able to take the top spot on the restart at lap 116 just before the red flag flew. Back underway, Bassett kept the #2 Chevrolet out front until Swaim challenged for the lead with 15 to go.
The two displayed great side by side racing for several laps until Swaim grabbed the top spot with six laps to go and began to slightly pull away. It appeared to be smooth sailing for Swaim, but with two laps remaining, lap traffic became a factor and Bassett was able challenge Swaim once again.
Coming into turn three on the final lap, the two were door to door and by the time they exited turn four it was a three wide battle for the win with Chad Finchum jumping inside. Stuck in the middle, Ronnie Bassett Jr. was able to keep the TDR Chevrolet out front by half a car length to claim the checkered flag.
It was a hard fought win as Ronnie Bassett Jr. claimed his third official, fifth unofficial, win in only seven races. With one DNF this season, his average finish crossing the line is 2.85.
The entire Bassett Racing team appreciates Mike Dillon, Dana Brugman, Ethan Stoltz, Eric Lindley and everyone involved at TDR for this opportunity. The greatest moment for Ronnie Bassett Jr. was to see the excitement in the crew, and for them to take the trophy home after they worked so hard putting this together.
Bassett Jr. looks to return behind the wheel of his Bassett Racing Ford at Caraway in two weeks. His car was finished last week at Performance Center and the team hopes to get it prepared in time.
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