Bassett Breaks Through For First Win At New Smyrnaby Hunter Thomas February 20, 2017
NEW SMYRNA, Fla. – A year after coming up just short at New Smyrna Speedway, Ronnie Bassett Jr. walked away with the Jet Tools 150 Sunday night for his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory.
In his 40th career start, Bassett led the final 42 laps – the first laps he’s led in the series – and out-distanced runner-up Zane Smith by 3.563 seconds to win.
Bassett started seventh and by Lap 108 had moved the No. 04 Bassett Gutters and More Ford to the front. He used a strong restart to pass his brother Dillon Bassett for the race lead.
“I was just watching the restarts,” said Ronnie Bassett, “and I picked a spot in the two lines, and I went after it, and I guess my brother spun his tires a little bit.”
Ronnie Bassett finished third at New Smyrna last season and is the only driver that was entered into Sunday’s race that has competed in all four series visits to the Florida half-mile.
“We work extremely hard to make these race cars good every weekend,” Ronnie Bassett said. “We’ve had some good runs. We’ve finished second, third, fourth and fifth, but we’ve just never been able to capture the deal, and tonight, I guess was our night and we were able to get it done.”
Smith, making his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut, was fastest overall in practice but had to start his No. 43 Diamondback Towing Toyota in the 25th position after his qualifying run was disallowed for an infraction.
“The car was good,” Smith said. “Still mad at myself for the qualifying deal, but I cannot thank everyone enough for all they did getting this thing on rails, and I really think if we were able to start up front, it’d be a different story.”
Derek Kraus, Harrison Burton and Travis Cope rounded out the top five. Earlier in the day, Burton captured his second 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Co.
Reid Wilson finished sixth, followed by Hunter Baize, Chase Purdy, Todd Gilliland and Spencer Davis.
Gilliland, the defending race winner, blew a tire on Lap 103 while leading. Davis, who qualified second, was penalized on the opening lap for jumping the race’s initial start. Dillon Bassett led a race-high 79 laps but finished 24th after being involved in a late-race accident.
The Jet Tools 150 will air on NBCSN on Saturday, February 25 at 10 a.m.
Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway on Saturday, April 8.
Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com