Bassett Racing was looking to make an immediate impact in the NASCAR Xfinity Series last season, until Mother Nature derailed that plan.
For the upcoming Xfinity Series season, Bassett Racing will give it another shot, as Ronnie Bassett Jr. will attempt to qualify for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The plan from there is to run between 15 and 18 races on the year.
“We’re obviously going to go to Daytona and see how that goes,” Bassett told Jayski.com. “Hopefully, it doesn’t rain this time. Basically, trying to make a name for our team. We’ve always done it with Mario [Gosselin, owner of DGM Racing] and we want to make Bassett Racing known in the Xfinity Series as well.”
Following Daytona, the team will avoid the west coast swing, with a return date of Atlanta Motor Speedway in mid-March. The goal is to do the majority of the east coast races, at tracks the team feels it can be competitive at.
Given there will be approximately 50 cars on the entry list for the Daytona race, it will be a tough task to qualify into the 300-mile race. But that’s a welcomed challenge for the Winston Salem, N.C. based team, which has just three employees, including Bassett and his brother Dillon Bassett.
“The field is growing,” Ronnie said. “When we show up, we’re going to have to be right in order to make the race.
“We want to grow our team name and get my brother and I some seat time back in the Xfinity Series. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve raced. We’re going to run selected races. If we’re not prepared for one that we want to go to, we’ll sit out. When we go, we’re going to be prepared.”
Ahead of the 2021 season, the newly formed No. 77 team had the intention of running the full season, splitting seat time between the Bassett brothers.
But when qualifying was washed away before the season opener at Daytona, the No. 77 team had no points to fall back on. The next time it would be able to attempt to qualify into a race was at Circuit of The Americas in late May.
There, in a “100%” Bassett Racing entry with a leased motor from Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines, Austin Dillon wanted to get additional seat time prior to the inaugural Cup Series race at the venue. He made the team’s first start, qualifying in 17th position. In the race, he placed 13th.
After COTA, the team failed to qualify at Charlotte Motor Speedway, despite posting the eighth quickest time in practice. One month later at Nashville Superspeedway, the No. 77 Chevrolet failed to qualify again.
Those two moments were frustrating for the new team.
“We were fast in practice and had an uh oh in qualifying and had to go home,” Ronnie said of Charlotte. “Same thing with Nashville, we just missed it there. It’s unfortunate because we were planning on running the full schedule and being able to only run two races last year was devastating.”
Those two races for Ronnie were in DGM Racing equipment. Out of the blue, he received a phone call from Gosselin, who asked him to run the June race at Texas Motor Speedway and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in July.
“It was a cool deal because it let me learn tracks that I’d never been to and it kept me in the car,” Ronnie said. “I feel like we helped each other: I helped his program and [Gosselin] helped me learn. I can’t thank him enough.”
Of course, the immediate goal for Bassett Racing is to make the field at Daytona. After that, it’s to be learning at the track as much as possible.