Even with the toil of “Big Race Season” closing in, Stephen Nasse is finding time to mix things up in his world, adding some variety to his schedule. But, rather than going to one of the many beaches in his native Florida, ‘Classy Nasse’ decided to get down and dirty on Thursday afternoon, wheeling a Dirt Late Model for the first time.
Popping up north to Georgia and Waycross Motor Speedway on Thursday, site of this weekend’s Ralph Allen Showdown, Nasse got a chance to wheel the No. 5 ride of Dirt Pro Late Model driver Mark Whitener during the open practice day.
“The guys that I drive for, Jett Motorsports, they are really good friends with Mark Whitener, and was able to get in touch with him, because I’ve been wanting to run a dirt car for a while now. He told me to come on out and test while they’re getting ready for the race this weekend,” Nasse told Speed51 on Friday.
While Nasse will not be competing this weekend, just having the chance to make laps on dirt was of great importance to the Pavement Late Model hotshoe.
“Maybe if I could’ve gotten the deal done a little sooner, I could’ve raced as well. But, I just wanted to get in the car really to make sure I was comfortable in it just to make laps. I’d never even sat in one before Thursday.”
In the end, Nasse came away a smile and a great appreciation for dirt discipline. All after starting the day unusually pensive.
“It was a blast. I’m not going to lie, normally I’m never nervous getting into a racecar; but getting out there in a different style track, different style car, it made me nervous. Especially with it not just being only me out there, it was a regular practice. So you had other guys out on the track with me. Not having a spotter is very different for me. Just completely different, but all and all it was a good time, and a good learning experience.”
Despite a packed schedule to end the year with his No. 51 Super Late Model on the pavement, Nasse is hoping to join forces with Whitener one last time in 2019 to make his dirt racing debut.
“We’re planning a race in the next few weeks, I want to get there and get my first race under my belt. Whether it’s going to be Georgia, Florida, I don’t know. We talked about Volusia and a few other tracks I’ve never heard of before. We’ll just have to see how it all goes for both of us. They want to take me to a track where it’s dryer and you can keep the nose straight there, and get a good first race in.”
Adding to the anticipation, Nasse is returning the favor as he plans to get Whitener behind the wheel of his No. 51 Super Late Model next month during practice day at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) for the Florida Governor’s Cup.
“Mark and I are actually planning on trading; dirt track time for me, and some asphalt time for him. Hopefully when we get to New Smyrna next month for the Governor’s Cup I’ll get him out there in my Late Model and see how he likes it.”
While it is a lot to look forward to, some of the toughest Super Late Model races in the country also lie ahead for Nasse and his fellow competitors. As always, he’s ready to take them all on with everything he’s got.
“With it being a busy time of year for us, getting ready to go to Winchester next weekend, it’s great way to let loose, have some fun and get the pressure off. Again, you got the Winchester 400, Southern Super Series finale at New Smyrna, the All-American 400 at Nashville, Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna, and the Snowball Derby in Pensacola. Quite a few races for us, but it’s all the big races that I enjoy. Looking forward to it.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Stephen Nasse Twitter - @StephenNasse