Stephen Nasse arrived at New Smyrna Speedway with a new race team Thurday afternoon. After many years with the DLP Motorsports team, the Florida native made the move to the Jett Concrete team owned by Kurt Jett. That move paid off immediately as Nasse won his first race with the team during the opening night of the 52nd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
Nasse led the field to the green flag after a post-qualifying invert of 10 and never relinquished the lead during the 35-lap Super Late Model feature.
“We’ve been searching for this win for a while now and it feels really good to get it at New Smyrna,” Nasse said on the FansChoice.TV broadcast. “I’ve got a lot of wins here and definitely know the track. For it to be our first race with these guys, it’s a good place to have it. I knew we were going to have some wins this weekend, but it feels good to get it out of the way on the first night. We’ve got some things to work on with the cars still, but hopefully we’ll get it better and get a few more W’s.”
Despite being crowned the 2017 Southern Super Series champion, Nasse never visited victory lane in his No. 51 Super Late Model in 2017. His win on Friday night gave him a much needed boost of confidence for the 2018 season.
“I couldn’t tell you how good of a confidence booster this is,” Nasse said. “I’ve definitely been down on myself the last season and to come out here and get the win with all the good cars out here, there definitely weren’t no slouches. Great night and a good confidence boost.”
While Nasse was enjoying his victory, his new teammate Jeff Choquette saw his race come to a crushing conclusion on lap 26. Choquette set fast time earlier in the night and started 10th after an invert. While trying to make his way through the field, he made contact with 2016 Super Late Model champion Ty Majeski and was sent spinning into the outside wall.
“Just hard racing,” Choquette said of the incident. “I was a little bit better than the guys in front of me but I couldn’t quite get to them and get inside of them. I tried to make a move to the inside of the 22 (Sam Mayer) and kept getting tangled up with him. I made another move to get inside of him, lapped car kind of got out there. I was crowding Ty trying to hold up the outside and he was trying to push forward. Just kind of a Speedweeks deal.”
Choquette’s team surveyed the damage and plan to make the necessary repairs to race Saturday night.
Majeski was penalized by race officials for his role in the incident and finished 11th after being sent to the rear of the field.
“Everyone was just really sliding around and nobody could pass anybody. Between us, the 9 (Choquette) and the 12 (Harrison Burton) we were probably the best cars and nobody could really go anywhere even though they were faster,” Majeski stated. “Just a lack of grip out there tonight. I got to the outside of Jeff, I pinned him on a lapped car and got to the outside of him. I was on the outside of him off of four. I was up against the wall and I don’t know if his spotter didn’t call him outside or he wanted to get up but we just ran out of room.”
Outside polesitter Paul Shafer, Jr. held off stiff competition to finish second, while defending Super Late Model champion Harrison Burton completed the podium. Sam Mayer and David Rogers completed the top five.
The Super Late Models will be back in action Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway for another 35-lap race.
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Friday night’s racing by clicking here.