Stephen Nasse has enjoyed a banner year in 2019, highlighted by marquee wins in the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (IN) and the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN). Now, the Florida native hopes to cap off a stellar season with what he believes to be his best shot yet to win the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
Nasse has long been considered a Super Late Model front-runner, with the 2017 Southern Super Series championship and 2018 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing title to his credit. However, his resume lacked the signature wins to match that speed.
Now, Nasse has one of the discipline’s crown jewels under his belt, claiming the historic Winchester 400 in dominant fashion by leading 392 of the race’s 400 laps. That, along with a come-from-behind win in the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol, gives Nasse confidence and clout entering the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club.
“I’ve been racing for a long time now,” Nasse told Speed51. “People see me all over the country. We’ve always run really well. We just haven’t been that team that’s known for winning everywhere. We’re known for running strong. It’s just hard to click off some of these wins.
“I really believe picking up our first Derby win after winning Winchester, Bristol, big races like that, I think it would help into next season. Maybe at the beginning of the season, we can start out strong instead of waiting until the end of the year.”
Nasse is often strong to close out a season, a trend that only went to another level with the Winchester win. That victory helps him believe this is his best shot at a Tom Dawson Trophy to date.
“It does big things for your confidence, both as a driver and for my team. It’s definitely a pick-up from recent years. Every year at the end of the year, we come on strong. We just haven’t been able to click off those wins. This year, fortunately, we’ve been able to click off a couple. I think that’s going to help us having the best shot we’ve ever had at this year’s Derby.”
While Nasse is enjoying a career year, he is going into one of the toughest races of the season and one that has plagued him in past years. In eight prior appearances, Nasse’s best finish at the Snowball Derby was a sixth-place run in 2014. Accidents have taken the Pinellas Park native out of the running each of the past three years.
Nothing would do more to erase that checkered past than taking the checkered flag after 300 laps and adding his name to the list of greats who have won the Derby.
“That’s what we’re here for. That’s the goal. I’ve been watching this race for a long time growing up, always being a Late Model fan myself. Knowing people who have run this race, being family friends with them and whatnot. It would be pretty cool to do it myself. We’ve been close in previous years, so it would be sweet especially with the troubles we’ve had.”
Race fans looking to make the pilgrimage to Pensacola for the Snowball Derby can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
For fans unable to make the trip, they can tune in to Speed51’s pay-per-view broadcast of the event. Now is the perfect time to order your video ticket and take advantage of early-bird savings.
To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.” Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38.
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo