Stephen Nasse has established himself as one of the most discussed and debated short track racers in North America. His personality on and off the race track has earned him a pair of nicknames: “Classy Nasse” and “Nasty Nasse.” On Sunday afternoon near his hometown of Pinellas Park, Florida, the classy version was on display as he drove to a $10,000 victory at Showtime Speedway.
Driving the Jett Motorsports No. 51, Nasse drove from the back to the front at his home track to win the Ice Crusher 150. To do so, he overcame adversity, an early race spin, and late-race challenges from some of Florida’s best Super Late Model drivers.
“It was a long day having to come from the tail,” Nasse told Speed51. “We missed it qualifying. We had some problems with the left front. Just not the right air pressure. The car came to life the first part of the race. I had to bide my time, make my way up to the front slowly. I ended up picking them off pretty easily there. (Cody) Stickler ended up slipping up. I don’t know if he got into some oil there or something. Once I got to the lead I was able to save my stuff pretty good.”
Nasse had to hold off a hard-charging Nick Neri on three separate restarts over the final 12 laps to take home the checkered flag.
“Those last ten laps just kind of drug out with all those restarts,” Nasse stated. “I was just hoping and praying that it would just go green and pretty soon it’s just one thing after another, going to the tail, and doing that, even after coming back to the front. But overall it’s just a great day for Jett Motorsports. It’s amazing to start the season off like this. I feel a lot of wins coming this season. This is a good start.”
Neri, who wound up finishing third after dropping a position on the final restart with four laps to go, chalked the loss up to poor track position.
“It was good racing,” Neri said. “A lot of it came down to track position. He pushed a little bit harder a little bit earlier than I did and he was able to get himself in a good spot. I think that’s where we really lost it. He’s a bit better than us on restarts, but once we were single file we were pretty much the same.”
At the end of the day, the local racer was just thankful to have a successful outing racing in his home state.
“I’ve got to thank Nick Manfull for getting the car ready, PFC Brakes, Devito’s Auto, Bell Helmets and everybody that helps get us to the track,” Neri continued. “Hopefully this year I can be in the car a little bit more. We’re hoping to do a little bit more of a full schedule this year, so I’m excited for that but we’ll have to see what kinds of sponsorship comes our way.”
Dylan Bigley finished second behind Nasse after making a bold set of late-race passes.
“We kept our nose clean, that’s the biggest thing,” Bigley said. “Man, I don’t know what I can say. I mean, we got stuck on the bottom back in fifteenth, sixteenth. We got a good restart got up to the outside and started picking off cars. We got that restart with four to go and I got under the leader and I didn’t think it would stick, and it didn’t. But what can we say? I just got to thank everybody. I have to thank everybody who turns a wrench. My mom, my dad, and my grandma. They all fund all this and without them I couldn’t do it. I just can’t thank them enough.”
With a $10,000 check in his pocket, Nasse will look forward to new challenges in 2019. The next race on his schedule is the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway. From there, he plans to chase checkered flags in big races all over the country.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @ajorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Ice Crusher 150 Unofficial Results
Showtime Speedway (FL) – February 25, 2018
|17||23||Eddie Van Meter|
|23||5k||Daniel Keene Jr.|