Stephen Nasse led most of Saturday’s Triple Crown finale at Showtime Speedway and appeared to have the race in hand, but a caution with two laps remaining would completely change the course of the race.
Michael Atwell took the lead from Nasse following a green-white-checkered restart and the two made contact racing into turn one on the final lap, sending Atwell around. Nasse then tapped out following the incident, taking fault for the yellow and giving Atwell the lead back. With heavy left rear damage, Atwell held on during the final restart to claim the win and $10,000.
“We got a good start with him and beat him into one and cleared him. I got loose off of four there and came down to run my normal line and I don’t if he didn’t lift or if he was trying to bonsai it in there, he basically led the whole race and it’s tough to lose the lead like that,” Atwell told Speed51. “I’m not sure, all I heard we he’s on you and then we spun and got our spot back. We got lucky there.
“I definitely like getting my spot back. I couldn’t really tell you what happened so I’d have to rewatch it and come back. I’m glad we were able to get our spot back and win $10,000.”
Nasse took fault for the incident, ultimately chalking it up as a racing deal. He was, however, baffled by the caution that erased his big lead with two to go after Jordan Richardson came to a stop on the frontstretch.
“It’s just really unfortunate for my team and his team too. I didn’t want to have two wrecked race cars, I just misjudged it. He got free, I got free, it just really sucks,” said Nasse. “We had such a good lead on the field and the car was so good all race, it’s just so tough to swallow something like that.
“Some silly, silly cautions there. I don’t know what the No.61 was doing stopping like that and then pulling into the infield with one lap to go. I’m just at a lost for words. I hate it for Atwell and his team. Even though they won having a torn up race car isn’t fun and having to go to work on it.”
Atwell was racing in the back half of the top-five when the yellow came out with two to go, but found himself on the outside front row for the biggest restart of the night. He had saved his stuff for a potential late restart while Nasse and George Gorham were checked out from the rest of the field.
“The car was super good. We struggled a little bit, the stagger closed up on us and we got tight there in the latter part of the race so I was biding my time trying to save tires so if we had late-race cautions we would still have something to work with.”
Nasse had finished second in all three Super Late Model races held at his hometown track in 2021, and was looking to get over that hump and take the $10,000 payday. He now turns his attention to next weekend’s Rattler 250 in Alabama.
“It was definitely a racing deal, I wasn’t trying to ruin his race. Don’t get me wrong, I felt like we had the best car tonight, it was pretty obvious. But it’s racing, just because we had the fastest car and had a big lead all night doesn’t guarantee me a win and there’s a lot of other variables that play into it. Tonight it was a silly driver making a dumb mistake costing me a race so we’ll work at it and move on.”
Jason Lester would finish second after the incident. Jared Irvan, Anthony Cataldi and Becca Monopoli rounded out the top-five.
A replay of Saturday night’s Triple Crown finale can now be seen on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo