Ronnie Bassett Jr. Narrowly Misses TCMS Victory Lane
Ronnie Bassett Jr. was searching for yet another victory this season, but came up just short as the GWC was shortened for a caution. Now the team prepares to enter their first NASCAR event of the season.
While looking to defend his Tri-County win from last season, Ronnie Bassett Jr. needed one more lap to complete the job and came up just short of claiming back to back victories on the historic 4/10 mile track. Ronnie Bassett Jr. was more than ready to head back to the racetrack for the UARA-STARS 150. Not only was he getting behind the wheel after a weekend off, he was returning to the track he claimed his first series victory, and returning with his primary car for the first time in two months.
Although sleep deprived after working nearly 48 hours straight, the team didn’t waste any time getting their familiar car dialed in. The 04 Bassett Gutters & More Ford was in the top ten during Thursday’s test session and although Bassett slid down the charts to 22nd in first practice Friday, the car was handling unbelievably well which reflected when he posted the fastest lap of final practice.
In qualifying Bassett Jr. actually slowed from his practice speed, giving him the seventh quickest time. After claiming the pole last season, the team was slightly disappointed they had missed their qualifying set up as the car was tight.
At the start of the race Ronnie Bassett Jr. had dropped back to 12th by the time the third caution waived on lap 51. The team told Ronnie to start making his way up the field if possible to avoid some of the hard racing taking place mid pack. At halfway he was up to eighth, and with 50 to go sixth. Bassett turned it up a notch and moved into the top three with 35 to go. Among multiple late race cautions and few green flag opportunities to race for the top spot, Ronnie took it three wide inside of Garrett Campbell and Steven Wallace on the restart at lap 135, taking the second position and awarding him the Pigwire Electrifying Move of the Race. The last caution flag flew with five laps to go and set the field up for another GWC finish this season.
Restarting on the inside of Campbell, Bassett had his preferred line coming to the green. In the middle of turns one and two Ronnie took the lead, but as the leaders exited turn two cars began stacking up in turn one and the yellow lights displayed while Bassett and Campbell continued to battle going into turn three. The Bassett Racing team believed to still have the lead when the lights came on, but UARA officials ruled Campbell was ahead.
Following the race the team obtained video footage and viewed it repeatedly. After not seeing where Campbell inched Bassett at the moment the lights displayed, they went to officials for review. Officials informed the team the field is frozen from the moment they instruct the flagman to throw the yellow flag, not necessarily when the lights illuminate and therefore Campbell was declared the winner.
Bassett Jr.’s thoughts on the race: “I’m definitely disappointed. We aren’t points racing, so we come out here to win. We needed one more lap, but it was still a great race and I had a lot of fun racing with Garrett. The team worked extremely hard this week, and most importantly the car is in one piece.” The team is now working to get the car converted to run some NASCAR sanctioned late model races.
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