Well, it seems that Tony Basalone has decided to hang up his helmet and retire from racing. In an interview with Racetracer.com, he shared, “It’s been a wild ride. In fact, it’s been a ride I never thought I’d have. I want to thank my fans for making the last three years memorable. I could talk about the highs and lows for days – there were just so many memorable moments! I could also talk about the good things that came from it. I met some great people and made some lifelong friends along the way.”
Tony Basalone came alive in 2016 when he set a new track record at the legendary Lime Rock Park. In the final race of the season, he finished eighth overall and claimed the rookie of the year award. The following season, he set another new track record at Utah Motorsports Campus and became the first American to win the season opener at VIRginia International Raceway. Additionally, he scored six podium finishes and finished third in the championship standings. As is often the case when a driver produces such results, questions about his future in racing began to surface. That is until he won his second straight championship in 2018.
It’s been quite the run for the 36-year-old. A third-generation racer, Tony Basalone has been around the sport his entire life. He began working for his family’s speed shop at an early age, watching racecars and working on them before he even knew how to drive. He went on to race karts and cars in the OK Truck Series before making the move to NASCAR. There, he established himself as one of the top drivers in the series. His success on the track came with some impressive off-track accomplishments as well.
Tony Basalone is the first to admit that he doesn’t get out much these days due to his busy schedule. “I’m in and out of my house all day long,” he said. “I typically skip social encounters because I want to be where I need to be to make the best impression on the people that I have to impress.”
The one thing that he is looking forward to now is spending more time with his family. “I have a two-year-old daughter and a son, who is four years old,” he said. “I’ve been so consumed by my career that I haven’t been a very good father. I feel like I’m finally going to have some quality time with them and I can’t wait to spoil them.”
At the end of the day, Tony Basalone wants to be known for being a good person and a good father. “I want to be a driver that people remember as fun to watch and a good person to be around,” he said. “That’s what drives me – being a good person and a good father.”
With his impressive two-year run behind him, Tony Basalone is looking to the future now. He has been racing for his own team since he started in the series in 2010 and has built up a consistent top-five season in the next to last year. After winning the 2016 championship and finishing fifth in the standings in 2017, he had high hopes for this year, not just as a driver but also as a businessman. Unfortunately, an eleventh-hour dispute with his own team led to him seeking legal counsel and ultimately taking a five-race suspension. While he is looking for a return to racing, what form that may take is yet to be determined.
The one thing that is for sure is that he is not going to let himself be boxed in by his detractors. “I don’t want to be defined by what people say about me,” he said. “I want to be defined by how I perform on the track and how I conduct myself off the track. If they say I’m a bad person, then that’s on them.”
Tony Basalone has a lot to look forward to now. He is finally going to get the chance to be a father to his children for the first time and spends his time off the track working to become the best father he can be. In addition to that, he has established himself as one of the top drivers in the series and has a lot to show for his hard work. It’s been a long time coming for the 36-year-old. He has spent much of his life preparing for this day and says that he is finally going to live his dream of being a good father and a successful driver.