Stephen Nasse has said all summer that he needed a victory to validate his Southern Super Series championship and he finally got in on Saturday night in the CARS Tour Super Late Model season finale at South Boston Speedway in Virginia.
Trading in his family-owned No. 51 for the Hamke Race Cars house No. 74 for one weekend, Nasse survived an onslaught of cautions to be the last man standing in the SoBo 125.
Meanwhile, Cole Rouse captured the series championship after a race he didn’t even finish. It was that kind of night in southern Virginia.
Brandon Setzer entered the weekend six points behind Rouse and likely needed to win the pole and race to win the championship. He began the night with a pole run and led the first five laps. But the effort was for nothing when he lost control of his car in Turn 3 on Lap 86, while running second, and crashed out of the race.
Thus, it didn’t matter that Rouse was also caught up in a crash on Lap 101, when he nearly flipped his Kyle Busch Motorsports N0. 51 in a crash with Christian Eckes.
The race came down to a series of cautions:
- On lap 119, Jake Crum tangled with Nasse in Turn 3, an incident that forced CARS Tour officials to send Crum to the back for rough driving.
- That placed Jared Fryar in the lead and in position to become the first driver to win in both the CARS Tour Late Model Stock and Super Late Model divisions. However, that was short lived as Zane Smith shoved Fryar up the track on Lap 123 and into the outside retaining wall.
- With Smith sent to the tail for rough driving, Stephen Nasse, Matt Craig and Jake Crum were the three contenders who raced it out in the final three laps. Crum, attempting to rebound from his earlier incident, went into the final set of corners harder than Craig, making contact which sent both cars up the track and broke their momentum. Nasse, who was immediately behind, turned underneath both drivers and won the drag race to the finish line for his second career CARS Super Late Model Tour win.
Again, this was his first Super Late Model victory of the season.
“It got real hectic there at the end,” Nasse said in Victory Lane. “There was a lot of hard racing and, like I say, rubbing is racing. Coming into the last corner, I knew it was going to get dicey so I entered a little easy. Luckily, they shot up and I was able to come off underneath of them and get this win.
“I can’t say enough for Robert and Robby Hamke giving me a shot to run their car, it’s just been an amazing experience. This is my first time in victory lane in 2017, so hopefully we can get a couple more before the season ends.”
Rouse, still reeling from his spectacular crash, took championship photos without his racecar on the frontstretch after the race, but claimed his first super late model title on the strength of two wins and 10 top-ten finishes.
“We hadn’t wrecked all year, so I would’ve thought you were crazy to say it would be won upside down,” Rouse said. “We’ve run clean pretty much all year, but I guess he had to run us in the wall, or maybe he ran out of talent, I don’t know, he didn’t come over and say anything to me. But it’s still really cool to win this and I have to thank all the guys at Toyota Racing, JBL, Kyle Busch Motorsports. This is a cool deal.
“These guys have taught me a lot all season. From the beginning of this season until now, I’m a completely different driver. We’ve had some things break this year that we couldn’t help, but we probably should’ve won at least three more this year and that would have been a really good season. But it’s still cool to win this in the way we have.”
The complete results from the race can be found below.
- Stephen Nasse
- Matt Craig
- Zane Smith
- Mike Speeney
- Raphael Lessard
- Jake Crum
- Tate Fogleman
- Jared Fryar
- Jeff Batten
- Christian Eckes
- Brandon Setzer
- Mike Speeney
- Nolan Pope
Read more Short Track Scene:
- CARS Tour releases 2018 schedule, participation bonuses
- Josh Berry wins CARS Tour Late Model Stock crown
- Fortune plays role in Doug Coby’s latest NWMT championship
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