Stephen Nasse spent most of Friday at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA) searching for speed. With one “good swing” he hit a home run in CRA SpeedFest time trials.
Nasse claimed the pole for Saturday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series 200-lap feature. Unlike most races in the series, which utilize an invert of the top six to ten qualifiers, the CRA SpeedFest 200 is lined up directly off time trial results.
Nasse spent most of Friday’s practice sessions searching for speed but found enough to start up front in tomorrow’s event with a lap time of 15.765 seconds. It took a big change late in the day of practice to find what he needed.
“We struggled today getting raw speed out of the car,” Nasse told Speed51.com. “The last session, we took a good swing at it and finally found something. We got some really good drive there. It’s still not perfect, I’ve got a couple of complaints. All in all, I’m very happy.”
Overall, Nasse believes he still has something left on the table for tomorrow’s race.
“We’ve got a good race car. I think we’ve got a little left. Some fast cars didn’t pick up and fortunately we did. I’m looking forward to the race, I think it will be a really good one. It’s nice to start up front and set the pace for the field. That’s where I feel I’m best at.”
Brian Campbell will start alongside Nasse, in just his first start at Crisp Motorsports Park.
“Yesterday was the first time I’ve been here, first time I’ve ever seen the place,” said Campbell. “Qualifying second against a bunch of guys who race here all the time is pretty good. Starting up front is always good, it makes our lives easier. I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a lot of competition all the way through the field, so I’m happy about it.
Many competitors throughout the field in qualifying acknowledged they did not practice in qualifying trim throughout the day or weren’t impressed with their mock runs. Campbell was another in that list.
“We spent the entire day on race runs,” Campbell admitted. “We didn’t do a mock run, so we didn’t know how qualifying would turn out. We’re really confident on what the car can do for a full 200 laps.“
Kyle Bryant posted a lap time of 15.826 seconds, good for sixth-fastest in the field. Bryant, an independent driver out of Florida, surprised himself by posting faster laps than some of the bigger names in Super Late Model racing.
“We really didn’t have a whole lot of speed today,” Bryant said. “So to pull that lap out, I have no idea where it came from. Just turned really good and had good drive. It was a two-man crew today, just me and one other guy, so to come out here and outqualify the big dogs is a big deal. Hopefully, we can do the same thing and finish strong.”
One of those big names was Kyle Busch, who arrived in time for a round of practice and time trials after attending J.D. Gibbs’ memorial service. Busch qualified tenth but admitted he had lacked short-run speed throughout the weekend.
“We haven’t been very good here for qualifying,” said Busch. “We tried a couple of runs on Thursday and never found any speed that we needed. We’ll see where it stacks up.
“Overall, we’re looking forward to the race,” Busch added. “I think our car is pretty good. We ran a lot of laps trying to get the long run good and see if the car will stay underneath me. It seemed to be better than some other guys.”
Chandler Smith was another driver who didn’t spend much time in qualifying trim. He’ll start 15th in tomorrow’s feature but was content with his car’s long-run speed for the race.
“Our car is really good,” Smith said. “Didn’t know what we would do for qualifying. We didn’t do a mock run or anything. We just kind of winged it. We just worked on race trim, and I think we’re one of the better cars here for race trim.
“I’m okay where we’re at. It’s a long 200-lap race, we’ll be there at the end.”
Casey Roderick qualified fastest for the 125-lap Pro Late Model feature for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. The top eight cars will be inverted, but Roderick is already thinking big-picture for tomorrow’s race.
“Just stay out of trouble,” said Roderick. “Be smart, run our race, not worry about everybody else, keep the nose clean. Don’t put ourselves in a position to get tore up. I think we have a really good race car. Good enough to win the race.”
Jordan McCallum was second-fastest but failed post-qualifying technical inspection with an incorrect ignition box setting. As a result, ninth-place qualifier Blaise Hetznecker will start on the pole, sharing the front row with Kyle Plott.
Fans can watch Saturday’s Late Model features on Speed51 if they are unable to attend SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park. Click here to order our pay-per-view ticket of Saturday’s broadcast. The broadcast is subject to a 100-mile blackout radius.
Premium members of the Speed51 Network can watch an on-demand replay of Friday’s qualifying sessions, as well as the Southern Pro Trucks and Wheel Man Racing Series features from CRA SpeedFest 2019. Click here to watch the replay. Fans can also click here to view Trackside Now updates from Friday.
CRA SpeedFest Super Late Models 200
CRA SpeedFest Pro Late Models 125
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com