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Dillon Bassett Records Impressive Statistics as 2012 UARA-STARS Rookie of the Year

Dillon Bassett Records Impressive Statistics as 2012 UARA-STARS Rookie of the Year

by November 6, 2012 0 comments

Dillon Bassett earned his first career Sunoco Pole at The Rock

Dillon Bassett wrapped up a successful UARA-STARS rookie season with a second place finish in the Classic 3 Championship weekend presented by the Richard Childress Racing Museum at Rockingham Speedway where he was crowned 2012 Rookie of the Year.

The Bassett Racing team had the #44 Ford dialed in for qualifying and Dillon Bassett posted a 25.198 earning him his first career Sunoco Pole over Clay Rogers at 25.231. By winning the pole Bassett earned five bonus points toward the championship hunt. He entered the weekend second, 71 points behind Travis Swaim.

When the 75 lap race got underway Rogers jumped out for the lead and Bassett fell back to second. The field was slowed by four caution periods, and point leader Travis Swaim encountered motor issues early on. Bassett was aware of Swaim’s misfortune, but was focused on chasing his third win and battled Rogers for a couple laps following a restart but was unable to make the pass before Rogers checked out en route to victory.

The final restarts were challenging for Bassett as his clutch went out early on, but he overcame and brought it home for a solid second place finish. “When I saw the 28 having problems there was a glimpse of hope for the championship, but that wasn’t our main focus. We wanted to win the race,” said Bassett. “When you win races, points seem to take care of themselves. Coming home second is nothing to hang our heads down about.”

Bassett’s second place finish at Rockingham earned him his sixth consecutive top five finish, his third runner up finish, and his seventh Circle Wheels / Extreme Trophies & More Rookie of the Race award. He also closed the points gap to a narrow 18 point margin. At 15 years old Bassett tackled his first season behind the wheel of a late model. To finish the season second behind Travis Swaim, a seasoned late model driver with four Caraway track championships and the 2009 NASCAR Whelen North Carolina State Championship, is quite an accomplishment.

Dillon Bassett entered the UARA-STARS tour full time this season after winning the 2011 Ace Speedway ASA Limited Late Model Championship with 12 wins, 10 earned consecutively. He made his first career late model start last season in the UARA event at Newport and also participated in the Myrtle Beach 400.  The Bassett Racing team’s main focus for the 2012 season was to gain experience for the young driver.

En route to his 2012 UARA-STARS Rookie of the Year title Bassett turned in one of the most impressive rookie seasons to date. He joins the likes of Steven Wallace, Kyle Grissom, Matt DiBenedetto, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Brennan Poole who also claimed the honor, but Dillon Bassett became the youngest Rookie of the Year at 15 years old. While many Rookie of Year title holders claimed one victory in their respective season, Bassett joins 2007 Rookie of the Year Matt DiBenedetto as the only rookies to claim two victories during their season.

Dillon Bassett’s two wins tie him with Swaim as the second winningest driver in 2012 behind older brother Ronnie Bassett Jr. with four official wins. Not only did the younger Bassett tie Swaim in season wins, the Champion and Rookie of the Year also tied for the Acroplate Hard Charger Award. The award is determined by highest points recorded from eight of last ten races in the series. The two tied with 842 points after their worst two of the ten were thrown out.

Throughout the season Dillon Bassett struggled with one area of inconsistency, qualifying. He ended the season on a strong note with his first pole, but overall his average start is 11.13, with five top five starts. Despite his qualifying efforts, he made the most of his starting positions and gained valuable on track experience. Throughout the year Bassett proved he could drive a racecar and not just maintain as he gained a total of 78 spots in the 16 events, and in five events he raced his way forward more than 10 positions.

Dillon Bassett accumulated some pretty remarkable statistics during his UARA rookie season at just 15 years old. Here is 2012 by the numbers:

  • Youngest Rookie of the Year
  • Championship runner up
  • 2 victories: Hickory (June) & Kingsport (September)
  • Average finish of 6.44
  • 13 top 10’s including 2 wins, 3 runner up finishes and 5 additional top 5’s
  • Completed 2,119 of 2,266 laps
  • 2 DNF’s: Kingsport (May) & Concord
  • 7 X Circle Wheel / Extreme Trophies & More Rookie of Race
  • 5 X Holley Performer of Race for most positions gained

“I’ve got to thank Kenyon Davidson and Kris Bradley for their hard work in the shop and at the track getting the car dialed in week after week,” Bassett commented. “They never gave up. I’ve also got to thank David Laws for all the help at the track. We couldn’t have done it without everyone involved – Bassett Gutters & More, Roof Shampoo, Rex Younger, Wes Page Shocks, G-Force South / Pig Wire, andPerformanceCenter.”

Dillon Bassett’s next event will be at Myrtle Beach Speedway for the Myrtle Beach 400 on November 18th. He finished 30th last year after getting caught up in a wreck. Bassett hopes all the experience he gained this season will pay off and the team can produce a better finish.

Follow @Dillon_Bassett and @BassettRacing1 on Twitter. Visit www.dillonbassett44.com.

Caitlin Tinius

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