Nasse overcame an unscheduled pit stop for a loose left rear wheel and rallied from the back of the field to pass Casey Roderick for the lead with four laps to go. Although he quickly closed on the back of Roderick’s car, the winning pass wasn’t as easy as he expected it to be.
“I was following Roderick with about six laps to go and thought I was going to make my move quick,” Nasse said. “I slipped up and didn’t know what happened. I was able to get back to down the bottom, gain the car lengths that I lost and it was smooth sailing.”
It was a memorable day for the Florida driver of the white No. 51 Chevrolet. He broke the track record for stock cars with his qualifying lap at 14.526 seconds and 132.094 mph. It was even faster than the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series track record of 14.528 seconds and 132.076 mph set by Ryan Blaney in April.
“It was really cool as I had the track record at North Wilkesboro, too,” Nasse said. “It’s always cool to have a track record at a NASCAR track. It was just a team effort that made the car so good. I ran this race two years prior. It just came down to it was a great weekend where we hit on our setups and were on top of the leaderboard all weekend.”
Roderick, a Georgia driver, piloted his No. 18 Ford to the runner-up spot after taking the lead from Steve Wallace with 42 laps to go. Nasse gave a little bump to Roderick to take the lead, but it was no problem for Roderick, who gave him a thumbs-up on the cool-down lap.
Roderick felt his car didn’t have the handle to hold off Nasse in the end.
“We just got too tight and Nasse had a strong car all week. We just didn’t have the car to beat him at the end,” Roderick said. “This place is a lot of fun to race on, but if you miss your mark, you lose two- or three-tenths (of a second) a lap. I fell in a rhythm and was fast throughout the race, but we were a little too tight.”
Wallace, the son of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace, inherited the lead from Nasse when he pulled in the pits on lap 30. Wallace felt his No. 66 Ford was equal to the winner’s car in some respects but he and his team were a little off on the setup, fighting the same problem as Roderick.
“Stephen Nasse was definitely fast tonight, but I felt like our car was just as good,” Wallace said. “The thing really took off and hauled butt, but then it picked up a push and we fought some tire stuff through the week. Third’s not too bad and the car’s in one piece, but I really wanted to win.”
Nasse didn’t have any problems with the handling of his car and went three-wide in his pass of Wallace for the runner-up spot.
Kentucky’s Josh Brock finished fourth and Florida’s Anthony Sergi finished fifth in a pair of Chevrolets.
Matt Wallace, Steve’s cousin and the son of NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, finished 14th, two laps down.
Trey Bayne, the younger brother of 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, finished 32nd after crashing on lap 11. It was the second day in a row the 15-year-old driver wrecked after an accident in practice Friday.
Indiana driver Tom Gossar Jr. won a crash-filled 50-lap Compact division feature. Another Hoosier driver, Justin Brown, finished in the runner-up spot. Gossar lost the lead on a restart and fell to third before battling back to gain the win.
“It means everything. If anyone who watches short track racing, this is the biggest win you can get,” Gossar said. “I don’t know what happened with the car. I was afraid we had broken an axle. I felt we had a good chance to win. We had fast cars the last couple of years we came here to race.”