Stephen Nasse Rocky Balboa’d his way into Donnie Wilson’s driver’s side window following an on-track incident Friday night at Five Flags Speedway (FL). Full-blown fisticuffs transpired soon after Wilson was able to climb out from his machine.
Security pulled the two drivers apart, but the long walk down to pit road catalyzed several more confrontations before they were finally separated. Upon being interviewed, both drivers were visibly upset, but that’s where the similarities ended.
“I heard some words exchanged, and there were definitely some words on my end,” Nasse told Speed51.com regarding the fight. “I thought I had felt a snag on my helmet and that’s what started the altercation.”
“I’m sitting in my car. He gets out of his car, I grab my window net and then he comes and starts wailing on me,” Wilson said. “You don’t come in and start hitting someone in their car.”
Both drivers also gave different accounts of the wreck that parked both of their machines only 52 laps into the 125-lap Blizzard Series opener. Coming three-wide out of turn four with Bubba Pollard just after a restart, Nasse and Wilson made contact down the frontstretch.
“Coming out of four, [Nasse] had a run to the outside I guess, but he wasn’t even beside me,” Wilson said. “He just picked me up in the rear, got me loose, got me into the wall and then just drove plum through me getting into one. I just got run over by Nasse.”
Nasse saw things a little differently from inside his No. 51 Jett Concrete machine. Nasse said that Wilson wanted the outside lane, but didn’t have him cleared.
“I felt like I had gotten a good run on Wilson,” Nasse said. “He closed the door on me two times and almost ran me up into the fence. I can see why he was trying to squeeze his way up, the outside definitely holds better momentum than the bottom, although I think it’s a bit early for that.”
Nasse said that he and Wilson, awhile after cooling off, talked things over. Nasse offered an apology to Wilson while explaining that it was all just in the heat of the moment.
“I realize now I kind of let my emotions get the best of me,” Nasse conceded. “It was a brand-new car we brought out here tonight and I was just trying to bide my time, keep my nose clean and keep the tires under me.”
Nasse told Speed51.com that his behavior was unacceptable, and that he hopes to stay away from altercations in the future.
“I don’t want any problems,” Nasse said. “I’m trying to win a lot of races and not get in these altercations. People have a sharp point on my back, coming from [Brandon Setzer] last weekend at Orange County, but that was 20 laps to go with $10,000 on the line and that was the only chance I had to win that race.”
Nasse said he’ll move on from the incident, not worrying about what people think, but focusing on improving himself as a driver for the future.
“I feel like these bad situations have chased me a little bit,” Nasse said. “Some have been my fault and some haven’t, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. People are going to see it the way they’re going to see it and you can’t change their minds. All you can do is focus on yourself and try to be a good person.”
Wilson, on the other hand, wasn’t quite ready to live and let go. He told Speed51.com that with Nasse, there’s a pattern with his driving style.
“I’ve got plenty of cars if [Nasse] wants to race that way, I’ll take [him] out every week,” Wilson said. “He’s got the reputation, I don’t. You take someone out, hit them in the rear and tear your stuff up when it’s lap 52, it’s just ridiculous. It’s absurd.”
Wilson ended his interview with a warning to Nasse, or any other driver, that wants to go toe-to-toe with him in the future.
“If you want to fight, we’ll fight, but you don’t want to mess with me.”
Race fans can watch the full on-demand broadcast from Friday night’s race, including the fight between Nasse and Wilson, on Speed51.com by clicking here.
-Story by Melissa Strahley, Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51 TV