There were drama and hot tempers as part of Sunday’s All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN). Some of those emotions carried over to social media on Monday morning, as Donnie Wilson and Stephen Nasse traded blows on Facebook.
Wilson originally posted a screenshot of a tweet from journalist Matt Weaver featuring negative comments by Nasse over his team radio communications following contact between Nasse and Cole Butcher, with Wilson adding commentary on the tweet directed towards Nasse (Warning: The link contains vulgar language some might find offensive). Butcher, the All American 400 polesitter, competed in a car out of Wilson’s shop. The contact ended Butcher’s day after 14 laps in the 400-lap event.
Wilson, who most notably had a run-in with Nasse in the spring of 2018 at Five Flags Speedway (FL) during a Blizzard Series event which led to punches thrown, said this situation was very similar.
“It’s just like round two with him, like when I was in the car with him at Pensacola,” Wilson told Speed51. “It’s the same exact situation. There is a brake pedal and a throttle pedal, too. It’s way too early to be doing that stuff. I understand Cole squeezed him a little bit, but we get squeezed every lap. We decide not to take people out.
“He can say what he wants, but it’s bad racing. Just no respect on the race track for other people. Especially that early in the race. 14 laps out of 400, it’s ridiculous. If his tire was up to the quarter-panel, it’d be different. You can see the screenshots. Was his nose up there, yes. But you know coming off turn two at Nashville the inside guy slides up a little bit.”
Nasse said that he and Butcher have already settled their differences from that incident.
“I know me and Cole got into it in the first 15 laps,” said Nasse. “Even his spotter came over to my spotter and called him clear. It’s funny, even Cole messaged me on Facebook, away from the comments, and had said he knew what had happened and he did crowd me, that he wishes it went different. He doesn’t have any hard feelings or want the drama to continue, knowing he crowded me.”
Wilson admitted he did not have any issues personally with Nasse on-track, he took offense to seeing Nasse’s radio commentary as a sign of disrespect to one of his drivers.
“Obviously, I own the car. The biggest thing that got me was, that’s just bull crap. He just has no respect for anyone. He’s got some growing up still to do. He’s a great race car driver, he just needs to calm it down a little bit. I guess he got a little karma at the end of the race because of what Chandler [Smith] did to him. What goes around comes around. We can all look at it different ways.”
Nasse said following the late-race incident between himself and Chandler Smith, he was met by members of Wilson’s crew in the infield.
“Basically, when I got out of my wrecked race car, Donnie’s little crew chief was yelling at me, cursing at me, telling me that’s what I deserve. You know me, I walked over there to see what the fuss was about. They were telling me how I wrecked Cole and I should have had give-and-take.
“The last time I checked, both cars had brakes and throttles, not just mine. We’re both equally involved. Donnie there was backing his guys up, saying ‘Let’s not do this.’ Then, I guess he gets back home on his computer drinking his coffee in the morning and he gets a little froggy and wants to say some things.
“It’s cool and all, I would rather just do it in person. If you have something to say, then do it in person, just say it to me. This isn’t high school. Donnie is like a 13-year-old girl on the internet, always commenting and saying things, but to your face he’ll smile and give you a head-nod or shake your hand.
“I don’t like playing these games. I’m a pretty confrontational person. It doesn’t have to be over social media. You had me in front of your face last night. Why are you going on social media like a little kid? I guess that’s how they handle things in Oklahoma where Donnie’s from, but that’s not how I handle things. “
As for the incident between Nasse and Smith, Nasse was disappointed with how hard he was raced by the Georgia youngster, but was quick to admit he probably would have acted similarly if roles were reversed.
“The deal with me and Chandler, I was racing him hard, he was racing me hard. I can’t say I would have done much different. I know he got in the back of me, lifted my tires off the ground and didn’t lift.
“I wish he had let me gather it up, but instead he drove through me. In his situation, I probably would have done the same thing, honestly. It’s a pretty big win. It stinks to be on that end of the stick, but that’s the way it’s going to be sometimes. Some days you’re the dog, and some days you’re the hydrant.”
Nasse admitted the radio commentary came during a moment of intense pressure and anger after the contact with Butcher, but defended the statements and reiterated he has no ill will towards the Canadian driver.
“I go on any NASCAR Radioactive or anything and you hear those guys going off,” said Nasse. “I’ve had guys message me and tell me my language on the radio is unacceptable and they’re not fans of me anymore because of that. When you’re watching the NASCAR things, you can’t even hear half of what they’re saying because it’s bleeped out. I’m a hot head and 90 percent of drivers are hot heads on the radio.
“What I say on that radio is to my guys. Those are guys that I’m comfortable with, and normally that’s not something that’s broadcasted out in the world. Not that I care that it is, I said and I stand behind the things that I say, but I think it causes more drama being out there.
“I was mad. I was worried about my left-front being damaged after that. No hard feelings towards Cole, I just think it’s unnecessary this comes from Donnie and his keyboard warrior stuff.”
Moving forward, Wilson made no bones about the possibility of more hard racing between himself and Nasse.
“He sits there and says, ‘I race that person how they race me.’ I guess that’s how we’ve got to look at it.”
Nasse doesn’t expect any further confrontation between the two when they next meet, but says he is prepared to take care of business if there is another chapter in their feud.
“I’ve said my peace. I’m not going to go bickering with him all day. I can guarantee you the next time I’m at Pensacola or a track Donnie’s at, he’ll look at me and do nothing like he talks about on the internet, and I will guarantee that. It’s immature and high-schoolish.
"Once he gets off the internet, I think he’ll be alright. But if he ain’t, so be it, I’ll be ready for it.”
Race fans who missed Sunday's All American 400 can click here to watch an on-demand replay of the event.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51photos.com