Engine Woes Set the Tune for Ronnie Bassett Jr. at Martinsvilleby Caitlin Tinius October 10, 2013 0 comments
October 10, 2013 – 17 year old Ronnie Bassett Jr. set his focus on bringing home the Martinsville grandfather clock but was plagued by his second half curse as his No. 04 Butler Trailer / Rheem / Rex Younger Galleries Ford was sidelined with an overheating engine at halfway in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.
After long hours and sleepless nights in the Bassett Racing shop, Ronnie Bassett Jr.’s No. 04 Ford was prepped for Martinsville. Before heading to the half mile paperclip on Friday, the Bassett Racing team made a stop at Ace Speedway to shake down their racecar as they were unable to make the test session at Martinsville a week prior.
During practice Saturday afternoon Bassett’s only handling complaint was a tick loose. Despite his well handling car, Bassett was lacking speed and his team was concerned about their engine’s performance. Prior to qualifying they made a carburetor change, and Ronnie Bassett Jr. entered qualifying unsure how the car would react. “We anticipated two 15 minute sessions, just like last season, but somewhere that got adjusted to one half hour session,” Bassett said. “We didn’t put on any tires or tape up during practice, thinking we had another round.”
After qualifying, Bassett reported to his team that the motor was still down on horsepower. His time placed him 44th on the grid, lining him up 11th in the fourth twenty lap heat race Sunday afternoon. The Bassett Racing team decided to forfeit their starting position to make an engine change Sunday morning.
With a field of heavy hitters in the fourth heat, Ronnie Bassett Jr. needed to advance 13 positions to lock himself into the feature. A caution fell on lap one and Bassett was up to 12th. By the end of the heat race he worked himself to sixth, earning the 24th starting position for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300.
“We knew it was going to be tough to make the show in our heat race, but we knew our only chance to be competitive was to make the engine change,” Bassett stated. “It proved to be the way to go. It worked out extremely well for us, and we were able to keep ourselves out of the last chance race this season.”
The 42 car field got underway for the 200 lap feature just before 5 PM Sunday. The second caution fell on lap 11, and Ronnie Bassett Jr. sustained minor body damage to the front end. The car’s handling was unaffected by the incident and by lap 60 Bassett was 13th on track when cars checked up ahead of him. Bassett was unable to avoid the chaos, causing significant front end damage.
Ronnie Bassett Jr. came down pit road under caution at lap 73 to open up the front end to avoid overheating. When the field went back green Bassett reported climbing water temperatures and kept up enough speed to stay on the lead lap until the halfway break when they could do more work. Unfortunately at halfway it was apparent his race was over as Bassett’s engine was spitting water and something was amiss.
“We started the weekend off with the motor issue, got it turned around and our car was really good. We were trying to bide our time and hoping to catch long green flag runs when we got into a game of bumper tag and the engine overheated,” Ronnie Bassett Jr. said. “That’s Martinsville for you, 90 cars show up, 15 finish it out. I’ve got to thank my team for sticking this out and getting the car where it needed to be, we will catch a break soon.”
The next scheduled race for Ronnie Bassett Jr. is at Tri County Motor Speedway (NC) on October 19th as he rejoins the UARA-STARS for his first event since July and strives for his fourth UARA victory this season. Follow @Bassettjr_04 and @BassettRacing1 on Twitter for updates. Like Bassett Racing on Facebook www.facebook.com/BassettRacing0444. For more information on Ronnie Bassett Jr. and media availability visit www.RonnieBassettJr04.com or contact email@example.com.