16 Year Old Dillon Bassett Crowned 2013 UARA-STARS Champion
- Published on Monday, 04 November 2013 10:58
- Kerry Bodenhamer
October 28, 2013 – Records are made to be broken, and during the UARA-STARS 12th season of competition 16 year old Dillon Bassett became the youngest series Champion and the first driver in series history to claim the Rookie of the Year and Championship titles in back to back seasons.
During his first season in late model stock cars Dillon Bassett came up 18 points shy of the series title in 2012, but claimed Rookie of the Year in dominating fashion. This year Bassett overtook the points lead after his first victory at Caraway Speedway in July and never relinquished, winning the UARA-STARS Championship by a mere 14 points in just his second full season.
Entering the final race of the season at Anderson Motor Speedway Dillon Bassett had a 26 point lead over Garrett Campbell. Practice on Friday afternoon was nearly non-existent as the No. 44 Bassett Racing team encountered rear end problems and spent the greater part of the afternoon repairing their machine.
Dillon Bassett is known to not qualify well, with an average starting position of 11.62. “I’ve struggled in qualifying the last two seasons, unless we are on a track I can run wide open. I wasn’t going to be able to sit on the pole or outside pole at Anderson to gain bonus points, so we strategized and started last,” Bassett said. “It was not our strategy all season to start in the tail and earn passing points, that’s a pretty risky game. But it’s the last race of the season; of course you’re going to points race if you’re leading the battle.”
It appeared Garrett Campbell was playing the same strategy as he qualified on the tail of the field just ahead of Bassett, starting 11th. With five bonus points to be earned for gaining the most positions in the race, the top two in points were vying to collect. Campbell raced his way to finish second behind Ronnie Bassett Jr. and Dillon Bassett came home fourth in the Halloween 150 presented by Comp Cams, enough to clinch the 2013 title.
“It’s hard to put into words what this means. We didn’t want to think about it until after this final race was complete, and it still hasn’t quite set in,” Dillon Bassett said. “I cannot thank Seth (Smith) and Jason (Stanley) enough for everything they’ve done this year. I appreciate their dedication all season long. What a great night for Bassett Racing, the Championship and the win for Ronnie (Bassett Jr.).”
“Thanks to Rex Younger Art Galleries, Pig Oil and Butler Trailer for their support. To Performance Center, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Charlie and Robert Long, Wes Page Shocks, Richard Mellentine, Kerry Lawrence Exhaust and everyone who has a hand in our No. 44 Ford running up front,” Bassett continued.
After serving as car chief for Ronnie Bassett Jr. in previous seasons, Seth Smith stepped into the role as crew chief for Dillon Bassett in 2013. In his first season calling the shots, Smith exits the UARA-STARS season with a Championship under his belt after a remarkable year.
In 13 events in 2013, Dillon Bassett has 11 top five finishes including seven podium finishes and three victories. Bassett recorded an average finish of 3.69, with only two finishes outside the top five and his worst being tenth. The season was about consistency for the Bassett Racing team and Dillon Bassett had no DNF’s in 2013, finished every race on the lead lap and capped the season with seven consecutive top five finishes.
Dillon Bassett is the second winningest UARA-STARS driver of 2013 with three victories behind Garrett Campbell and Ronnie Bassett Jr., each with four. While Campbell and Bassett Jr. each earned back to back victories during the season, Dillon Bassett set the bar higher earning his three victories consecutively. Bassett was awarded Holley Performer of the Race eight times in 2013 for gaining the most positions during the event, and gained a total of 112 positions during the UARA-STARS season.
While the 2013 UARA season has come to a close, Dillon Bassett’s race season is not complete. The 16 year old Champion will compete in the prestigious Myrtle Beach 400 on November 23rd. Follow @Dillon_Wayne44 and @BassettRacing1 on Twitter for race updates. For more information on Dillon Bassett and media availability, visit www.DillonBassett44.com.