From UARA press release
Drew Hierwarter photos
Newport, TN (7-14-12) –. The thunder in the Tennessee mountains and the storms looming all around were no comparison to the thunder at Newport Speedway in another spectacular UARA event that will keep the fans talking for quite a while. The UARA-STARS have been working double time putting on some of the best and most competitive racing around. The fans that came out were nothing short of wowed once again by the close racing and spectacular finish of the Jeff’s Auto Sales 150 delivered by the UARA-STARS. In a three wide battle to the checkered flag it was Ronnie Bassett Jr. who came home as the victor after he held off Chad Finchum and current points leader, Travis Swaim. Bassett’s win is the first UARA win of 2012 for Chevrolet and Team Dillon.
During the last visit to Newport, Bassett’s no. 04 machine suffered major damages from the “Big One” so while Tim George Jr.was in Iowa for the Camping World Truck race, car owner Mike Dillon asked the focused driver Ronnie Bassett Jr. to fill in as driver of the Team Dillon Racing’s no. 2 machine. Qualifying on the outside pole, Bassett jumped to the front, but only led two laps before he began saving his equipment. He turned on the heat on lap 115.
Sunoco Pole winner Travis Swaim hogged up Bassett’s rear view mirror and was determined to land his first win. With only seven laps to go, it looked like Swaim clinched the lead but he got passed by Bassett with three laps to go. On the way to the checkered, Chad Finchum challenged both drivers to create the three-wide, photo finish. Swaim wouldn’t bring home the win but was voted to receive the “Pigwire Most Electrifying Move of the Race” for this final challenge for the win.
After qualifying 12th, Finchum’s second place was his best career finish and he was awarded Holley Performer of the Race. Former Newport winner, Roger Powell had a strong night as he battled his way from seventh to third. He made his way up to the front numerous times, but didn’t quite have enough to steal the lead.
Driving for Marcos Ambrose Motorsports, Ben Rhodes had the best finish among the rookies, earning the Rookie of the Race award for his fifth place finish. It’s safe to say Rhodes made a great recovery from the first caution of the night. Rhodes and Rookie Jake Morris battled hard for position which turned into Rhodes making a clean spin in turn two. Morris came back to finish 13th. The second caution of the night came out when Cory Joyce and Will Gallaher exchanged some love taps, resulting in hot tempers and a spin for Gallaher. Gallaher spun clean and was able to make a full recovery until he got caught up in a later caution.
Recent UARA-STARS series winner, Dillon Bassett was making his way up through the field until he made hard contact with Morris and ended his night early. The Dillon Bassett team worked feverishly on his car to get him back in the race to continue his battle for points. “Hate to have such a great car last night and have a right front hub break,” Bassett said, “but I gotta thank the whole team for the hard work and effort they put in last night. . .”.
Julia Dawson and local driver Robbie Henry were involved in the fourth caution of the night. Dawson had a strong run coming off of turn four, and clipped the back end of Henry’s car. Dawson was able to work her way back to an 11th place finish.
With less than 50 laps to go, Trey Marcham spun on the front stretch. With nowhere to go, Gallaher ran underneath Marcham, causing him to do a complete 180 degree spin. Marcham had a hard hit to the wall, but was able to hop out the car. That earned Marcham the ARbodies Hard Luck Driver of the race. During the midst of this incident, Henry and Blake Jones got piled up on the front stretch bringing out the red flag halting the race for an extended clean up and that ended Jones’ night.
Scott Turlington then jumped out in front and worked the high side groove. He was looking to win his second UARA-STAR event, but began falling back after leading the majority of the race due to a right rear tire going down. He was awarded Tilton’s Most Laps Led Award after leading 113 of the 150 lap event.
The next event for the UARA-STARS will be at Caraway Motor Speedway on July 28th in Asheboro, North Carolina.