Winston-Salem, N.C. (June 15, 2014) – Ronnie Bassett Jr. and the Bassett Racing No. 04 Butler Trailer Manufacturing/Roush Yates Performance team finished in the eighth position in the Pensacola 150 at 5 Flags Speedway. The eighth place finish was the fifth straight top-10 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East finish for Bassett Jr., dating all the way back to March at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Track activity was postponed early Friday morning as a result of a thunderstorm rolling through Pensacola, the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle. The first practice session was cancelled, putting emphasis on the second practice session for rookie of the year candidate Bassett Jr., to familiarize himself with the ½ mile speedway, a track he had never seen before. In the only practice session, Bassett Jr. was able to get up to speed quickly, recording the third-fastest lap. The No. 04 team was hoping this speed would transfer over to qualifying, but an issue with the air intake relegated Bassett Jr. to a 14th place starting position. Bassett Jr. and the No. 04 team would have to come from the back to keep their top-10 finish streak alive.
The green flag flew on the 150-lap event from 5 Flags Speedway and Bassett Jr. immediately starting working his way towards the front. By lap eight Bassett Jr. was already fighting for the ninth position, having a good run inside the top-10. While taking care of his equipment and running in the top-10, Bassett Jr. began to lose forward grip making it hard to pick up the gas and charge off corners. The No. 04 began to lose positions and fell back to the 14th position by the time the halfway break came on lap 75. The halfway break gave the No. 04 team an opportunity to get four new tires and make adjustments to the car. The green flag waived on the final 75 laps and Bassett Jr. took a different approach to the second-half of the race. The No. 04 maintained the 14th position all the way up to the 120th lap, saving his equipment and waiting for the right opportunity to come through the field. From lap 120 to lap 132, Bassett Jr. began his run to the front, making it two and sometimes three-wide in a bid to gain positions. In those 12 laps, the No. 04 went from the 14th position to the 9th position, solidly in the top-10 and looking for more. With a mere five laps remaining the No. 04 made it to the seventh position but with a last-lap pass, was relegated to an eighth place finish. The eighth place finish allowed Bassett Jr. to maintain the eighth position in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver point standings, closing in on the seventh position.
Ronnie Bassett Jr.
“It was a really hard fought eighth place result, but we just didn’t have the car balanced enough to contend for a top five finish. We lost forward drive really early after only a few laps on the tires, so I wasn’t able to dive under other cars coming off the corners. It’s definitely a frustrating result even though we finished eighth, this team and these cars have such a huge potential, but we just haven’t reached it yet. We’ll take it back home and learn from this result and get better as an organization for next week at Langley.”
The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule for the No. 04 Bassett Racing Butler Trailer Manufacturing/Roush Yates Performance team and driver Ronnie Bassett Jr. will be from Langley, Virginia and the Visit Hampton 175 on June 21.