December 12, 2013 — Story and audio by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — photo courtesy of thefourthturn.com — Winston-Salem, NC — Just like his nickname “Bulldog” would suggest, young Ronnie Bassett Jr. is chomping at the bit to get on track for the 2014 season.
And he’s certainly got good reason to be excited. After a 2013 campaign that produced all the buzz the talented second-generation driver had hoped for, Bassett is going into the offseason with high hopes and even higher aspirations.
“We had a great year,” Bassett expressed in a recent interview with our partners at Speed77 Radio. “We accomplished pretty much everything I set out to do, and we had a lot of fun doing it. I’m excited to see how things roll into 2014.”
Bassett’s year can’t necessarily be considered a breakout season, per se, as the soon-to-be 18-year-old driver has already impressed in the UARA and NASCAR late model ranks over the past four years, but 2013 was by far his most consistent campaign to date behind the wheel. While he didn’t run a full schedule on any one tour this year, Bassett did return to the UARA-STARS Late Model Tour, where he raced full-time in 2010 and has run part-time since 2011, and notched four victories, including the season finale at Andreson Speedway in South Carolina.
“The Anderson race was huge for us as a family; I won the race and my brother (Dillon) won the championship. It was just a surreal moment, like something out of a dream, but I couldn’t have scripted a better way for Bassett Racing to cap our run in UARA.” All told, Ronnie Bassett will likely end his four-year stint in UARA with a record of 13 wins, 24 top five and 36 top ten finishes.
With that stellar record, the talented teenager has turned enough heads to garner the support necessary to make plans for a full 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The program will be the first K&N program run out of the Bassett Racing shop, and Ronnie told us he’s excited to make the jump to the next level after getting his feet wet with two East starts in 2013.
“We didn’t quite have the results we wanted in our two East starts this season, but we showed we’ve got speed. The race at Loudon, we were running fifth before we got caught up in someone else’s mess, and we still fought back to a top ten finish. I’m pumped, because I know if we can get rolling in the first few weeks of next season, that we can show everyone that we’re here to contend.”
He’s been contending the last four years, and winning too, all the way up to his season-ending race this year on Thanksgiving week in the NASCAR WHELEN All-American Series late model, going to victory lane in the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, NC. The win extended a streak of six wins for Bassett in six career starts at the 4/10 mile track, spanning both UARA and NWAAS competition.
“The win at Kenly Thanksgiving weekend was huge for me. We struggled in the two big NASCAR late model races at Martinsville and Myrtle Beach; we had great cars, we just didn’t have luck on our side, but the race at Kenly, everything went our way. It always has at that track, I guess. Kept the streak alive; that was important,” Bassett said lightheartedly.
Now Bassett looks to start a new streak in 2014, one that if he can get it rolling, will take place on a bigger stage than any he’s been on yet.
“I’m ready for it. I’ve always been one to step it up when the pressure turns on. 2014’s just another step up on the stage.”
Listen in as Jacob Seelman sat down for a recent interview with Ronnie Bassett following his 2013 season to discuss his recent success and his plans and expectations for 2014: