From on-track altercations to getting the monkey off his back and winning the inaugural Mobile 300 at Mobile International Speedway, the driver they call “Classy Nasse” had a season to remember in 2018. Now, with his 2019 season set to begin this Saturday during CRA SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA), Stephen Nasse is hoping to make this year his most memorable yet.
Nasse is preparing for his second season with the Jett Concrete team after coming on strong at the end of last year, picking up a top five at the Winchester 400 and winning the Mobile 300.
After ending the season on a high note, Nasse feels no pressure going into his first race of 2019 this weekend in Cordele, Georgia. The Pinellas Park, Florida native enters SpeedFest with confidence and a new Super Late Model that suits the race track well.
“I don’t feel any more (pressure), that’s for sure,” Nasse told Speed51.com. “We should have a good car and I feel that I’ve been pretty confident about our stuff lately, as far as the last big shows of the year and all throughout last year.
“I feel like we made big gains on our new Senneker car. I feel like that’s a track that suits that car. It’s a little flat and rounded off, something you need a little more grip for. I’m looking forward to getting there and there’s really no pressure at all. I just want to get out there and contend for a win and hopefully get one.”
After racing with family-owned equipment and the DLP Motorsports the past few years, Nasse jumped to the Jett Concrete team owned by Kurt Jett to team up with Winchester 400 winner Jeff Choquette. The new pairing immediately found success with Nasse winning the Super Late Model championship during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
Despite the missed opportunities at securing more race victories in 2018, Nasse says the new pairing has helped him immensely behind the wheel.
“I feel like all season we really missed out on, I can remember, two and three (races) that really could have helped us out a lot,” he stated. “Nothing that was really small. There were CARS Tour and Southern Super Series races that I felt like we had barely missed. I feel like the car’s long run, they’ve always been good long run cars for me, but especially the short runs I’ve gotten a lot better than I previously was. They’ve just kind of helped me altogether.”
Nasse credits the team’s success to the fact that the Jett Motorsports team is powered by the work of blue-collar people who are passionate about racing.
“They’re hardcore racers and the guys that work for them, that’s what they want to be doing,” Nasse said. “The only downside with them is that they do concrete as well. All the guys you see at the race track most of the time are on the concrete jobs or doing something else for Jett. If they could completely put all their focus on race cars, I feel like we’d be really, really good. We’d have people talking big time about (Jeff) Choquette and I. If they didn’t have to worry about the big concrete job, which is understandable, I come from construction as well, we would be really good. But I’m happy with how we’ve ran and I’m happy with where I’m at and I couldn’t ask for a better place.”
With SpeedFest comes some of Super Late Model racing’s best coming together at Crisp Motorsports Park. Nasse says his biggest challenge of the weekend is beating one of the best in all of motorsports.
“I feel like the biggest challenge of the weekend is going to be beating Kyle Busch,” Nasse said. “You just know anywhere that guy goes, he’s going to be tough to beat. They outclass everybody. My guys work hard to death and I’m sure they work just as hard as his guys do, but it’s just we don’t have any of the resources and we can’t be fully committed on race cars all the time, so I know when anybody comes with a Cup-caliber Late Model team to the racetrack, he’s going to be tough to beat. He’s definitely one of the best shoes out there. That’s going to be my main focus, focusing on what he’s doing. See if he can show me anything, a line or two, but at the end of the day I want to be there battling with him or Bubba or one of those guys up front and hopefully for a trophy.”
Nasse comes into 2019 with a lot of confidence and momentum from the end of 2018. However, he knows that a win will back up his success and set himself up for a strong 2019.
“It just boosts confidence. I already feel a high confidence level. I feel like me and Jeff (Choquette) have been on a hot streak in the last few races. If I captured a win at Watermelon, that would speak volumes and back up what I did last season, so hopefully we can just do that and get a lot more than that this season as well.”
Race fans worldwide will be able to watch Nasse kick off his season Saturday at CRA SpeedFest 2019 by purchasing a pay-per-view video ticket on Speed51.com. A live broadcast of Friday's qualifying and feature races will also be available exclusively to Speed51 Network premium (monthly or yearly) subscribers. There will be a 100-mile blackout in effect for both broadcasts.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com