Winston-Salem, N.C. - Dillon Bassett, and the No. 14 Butler Trailer Manufacturing/Roush Yates Performance Bassett Racing team reached victory lane in exciting fashion last night with a last lap pass in turn four at Motor Mile Speedway in the first of two New River Bank 75-lap feature events. This was Bassett's first ever career start at Motor Mile Speedway, and the first time he had ever stepped foot inside the famed .416 mile Speedway located in Dublin, Virginia. Bassett had to beat the most competitive NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) field in the country with two-time and defending NWAAS National Champion champion Lee Pulliam, and 2005 NWAAS National Champion Peyton Sellers in attendance. Poised for another great finish in the second 75-lap feature event, Bassett was caught up in a 13-car incident on lap 30 and retired early from the event.
Track activity began with only a pair of ten-minute practice sessions as Dillon Bassett began to acclimate himself with a Speedway he had never competed at before. Once practice had concluded crew chief Seth Smith and Bassett were able to debrief and make the necessary setup adjustments going into the first of two 75-lap events. The adjustments paid off, as Bassett was able qualify with one of his best efforts of the season, a 2nd place starting position.
When the green-flag flew, Bassett began to slip back in the field as some of the hometown regulars pushed towards the front of the field. Bassett fell back as far as fourth position on the 40th lap, but it was evident he wasn't going to stay there long. As the laps began to click off, Bassett was able to maintain competitive lap times longer than the rest of leaders, the longer the field was under green-flag race conditions, the better the handling became on the No. 14. With only 20 laps remaining in the 75-lap event, Bassett moved into the third position and began to gain substantial time on the two leaders who were racing feverishly side by side. With only seven-laps remaining the two leaders (Matt Bowling and Lee Pulliam) made contact with each other, which opened the door for Bassett to compete for the top spot. The final seven-laps had the entire crowd at Motor Mile Speedway on their feet as Dillon Bassett raced side-by-side with two-time and defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Lee Pulliam for the race win, with both drivers not giving the other an inch of room. It all came down to the last lap as Bassett on the inside and Pulliam on the outside began leaning on each other, still side-by-side Bassett drove into turn three farther than Pulliam, pulled ahead by a nose, and moved him up a lane on the track. This strategy allowed Bassett to complete the pass and came across the finish line just feet ahead to take the win. The win at Motor Mile Speedway was Bassett's sixth win of the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season, and has 15 top-5 finishes in 18 races.
"What a great night for my entire Butler Trailer Manufacturing/Roush Yates Performance Bassett Racing team tonight at Motor Mile Speedway. We also had a very special friend in attendance in Rex Younger of Rex Younger Art Galleries, so it was such a special experience to be in victory lane with my team, family and friends. We had a really good long run car, which we knew in practice but didn't know if we were going to get those long runs during the race or we were going to have a lot of caution periods and multiple short runs to the finish. The last 15 or so laps were the hardest I've ever drove in my career and when the two leaders made contact with just a few remaining laps I knew that was going to be my only chance to challenge for the win. It's always a pleasure racing with such a high caliber and professional group of drivers, and I couldn't be happier to get the win tonight, especially with it being the first time I've ever even seen this particular track."
The next NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event on the schedule for Bassett Racing will be the very next night (June 28) at Hickory Motor Speedway.
- Bassett Racing PR. Photo credit: Bassett Racing