Winston-Salem, N.C. – Dalton Sargeant and the No. 45 Bassett Racing team achieved something that the young 16-year old road racing standout hadn’t accomplished yet, win in a stock car event. Sargeant set the fastest time in practice, qualified on the pole, and led every lap of the Southeast Limited Late Model Series event from Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, August 16. With trophy in tow, Sargeant then made his way to Hickory Motor Speedway to compete in the Hickory Motor Speedway 64th Anniversary 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Event where he qualified in the 16th position, but raced through the field to finish in the fourth position.
At the beginning of Sargeant’s one-day late model tour of the Southeast, practice began at Virginia International Raceway at 8am with a 30-minute session to finalize the car setup for the main event. Sargeant wasted no time and set the fastest lap of the only session of practice and cemented himself as the car to beat. He backed up his practice performance with winning the pole position with a lap time of 1:32.86, a full seven-tenths of a second better than the second position. This transferred right into the 15-lap main event for the Southeast Limited Late Model Series, which served as the support series to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the Biscuitville 125. Sargeant took the lead on the initial start and never looked back, leading all 15 laps in dominating fashion for his first ever stock car victory of his young career.
Two hours and thirty minutes down the road from Virginia International Raceway lies Hickory Motor Speedway, home to one of the most famous and historical tracks in all of short track racing. Sargeant made the drive and arrived with barely enough time to put his firesuit back on and climb aboard the No. 45 for qualifying. With two full days of road course racing under his belt, and no practice at Hickory Motor Speedway, Sargeant knew qualifying was going to be his biggest challenge and dictate the results of the rest of the night. Sargeant qualified with a lap time of 15.61 seconds, which was good for a 16th starting position. This qualifying effort didn’t deter Sargeant’s determination and newfound confidence from being a first time winner earlier in the day, he immediately started to move through the field as soon as the green flag flew. 20 laps into the 100-lap event Sargeant had made his way into the 12th position and just a third of the way through the event he cracked the top 10. Sargeant was also making his way through the field without the aid of caution periods, a long green flag run was all he needed. The field began to string out and it was becoming more difficult to pick up positions, but all that changed on lap 68 when a caution came out to bunch the field back up, while Sargeant was scored in the sixth position. When the green flag flew Sargeant made an aggressive move and made it three wide on the outside of the fourth and fifth place cars. The move paid off as he took over the fourth position, but already had a sizeable gap to the third place car and time was running out. Sargeant was able to chase down the third place car and reach their back bumper but simply ran out of time, finishing in the fourth position.
“What a busy weekend for everyone on my No. 45 Bassett Racing crew, I felt like we all lived at the racetrack for the past few days but all the effort that everyone put it in paid off in the end. It feels great to get my first win in a stock car, I’ve only been racing stock cars, and ovals for that matter for the past five months and the learning curve has definitely been steep at times, which makes the win at VIR that much more special for me and my team. The VIR event was really important to show well, it was infront of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams and officials and is a series that I’d like to compete in one day, not to mention road racing is a discipline I’m very familiar with so we all worked really hard for this result. Competing in two races in one day was a lot of fun and offered a ton of excitement all in one day. Hickory Motor Speedway is always a really tough place and to qualify near the back and come all the way through the field like we did was really exciting. It definitely had me on the edge of my seat so I hope the fans enjoyed it. With that being said, I atleast have a really cool story to tell the class when I start my Junior year of high school on Monday.”
The following week will be just as busy for Dalton Sargeant, he will compete in twin races at Caraway Speedway on August 22, and then twin races at Hickory Motor Speedway on August 23.