Stephen Nasse has been on perhaps the busiest stretch of his career, having competed in six races at race tracks in four different states since June 26. That is set to end this weekend at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in the track’s first iteration of the $10,000-to-win Masters of the Pros sanctioned by the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour.
Nasse won his first-career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Winchester Speedway last September, and in his last trip to Nashville he was contending for the All American 400 win late before a late incident ended his night with less than 30 to go.
After a stretch of races that has had its share of highs and lows, Nasse is ready to get to a track he’s very familiar with before returning home to Pinellas Park, Florida.
“It’s always fun to come back here, it’s like we always have good success in Nashville. It’s been a long three weeks or so on the road, going from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, to Indiana and now here,” Nasse told Speed51. “I’m ready to get home and do some relaxing and I’ve got to get back to work and get some things done. It’s been a rough three weeks, we haven’t been running too well, we’ve had a few problems. It’ll be nice to take a step back and take a breather.”
The stretch has seen him win the Blizzard Series opener at Five Flags Speedway, but has also seen him struggle at times. Even with everything that’s transpired since arriving at Jennerstown Speedway on July 4, it has still been a fun experience for Nasse.
“It’s always fun to get to travel around with your family. I’m very fortunate to do what I do, it’s a blessing for sure. My guys are able to do it as well with me. We’ve all been enjoying it, spending time with each other and going to different cities and different states. It’s been a good time.”
Nashville is the fourth track to host the Masters of the Pros in as many years, following Lebanon I-44 Speedway, Birch Run Speedway and Memphis International Raceway. Nasse has two previous starts in the event, both coming at I-44 where his best finish was a seventh in 2017.
“I had the chance to run it at I-44 and that was a great race. I really enjoyed that track and Nashville’s another track that I really enjoy going to. I’ve had success at that track so it gives me more confidence going into that show.”
As the venues have changed for the Masters of the Pro’s, the format has undergone some changes as well. This year’s event will feature a 150-lap main event with controlled cautions and eight tires at each team’s disposal.
Nasse says the new format will throw a wrench into their gameplan, but says the extra tires will coincide with harder racing.
“It’s going to be a different race-style with it being an eight-tire race for only 150 laps, that’s a lot of rubber. I don’t know if we’ll get the chance to put all four on with only being able to take two per stop. There will be a little bit of strategy because Nashville is known for wearing out the tires a little bit.
“It’s going to be about keeping the tires under you but guys will be running pretty hard because they have more in the pits. It’s going to be a different kind of race than the other Masters of the Pros races I’ve run before but I’m excited, it should be a good show.”
The event also has a unique trophy, with the winner receiving a green jacket. The Masters of the Pros and its signature award are inspired by The Masters Tournament, the golf major contested in Augusta, Georgia.
Nasse has been chasing Pro Late Model racing’s green jacket for a few years now, and Saturday night gives him to capture that elusive trophy.
“Just to get the green jacket as well, I’ve been shooting for that since traveling to I-44 and places like that. Hopefully we can knock that out and put it in the trophy room.”
Race fans can watch the Masters of the Pros for $19.99 on Speed51. Click here to watch Saturday’s race.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo