Harrison Burton set sail early and never looked back, winning the final Super Late Model race of the World Series of Asphalt.
Stephen Nasse crossed the line about seven seconds behind Burton, but came away with a trophy of his own, defeating Sam Mayer by one point for the overall Speedweeks championship. Nasse entered the evening four points behind Mayer, essentially four places on the track.
Nasse owned the tie-breaker via his Night One victory but didn’t need it. Mayer qualified outside of the top-10 and could only work his way to seventh. That handed the championship to Nasse, who was competing in his seventh World Series.
“I’m really excited to get this out of the way,” Nasse said. “It’s been a long time coming. I know my family is happy, I’m happy and we just wanted to get it out of the way.”
Nasse was outdueled by Kyle Benjamin in 2012, by Ryan Moore in 2018 and was disqualified from a potential championship in 2017. He grew up in Pinellas Park, Florida and considers the half-mile his home track.
Throughout the week, he had wavered, calling the championship the most important thing to him this week to saying that it was just about winning races. With the deed finally done, the true importance settled in.
“I can’t lie, I was really disapointed we didn’t win the race,” Nasse said. “I told the guys I appreciated them when I came across the line but that I really wanted to win for them. It’s tough to swallow. We want to win and tonight, we got our butts kicked.
“Truth be told, this is the happiest Ive ever felt finishing second. I can’t hang my head too low.”
Mayer struggled in practice, followed that up with a poor qualifying effort and then just couldn’t find the speed when it mattered most on Saturday night. Saturday was by far his worst finish of the week, going from a fourth-place average finish to a seventh.
“We were just fighting tight center all day and couldn’t get it together to find what we needed,” Mayer said. “The car drove good overall. FURY Race Cars did a great job this week. It was a great week. We had a lot of fun doing it.
“It’s just a tough pill to swallow to lose the championship by that much.”
Even without the championship, the week was still a star-making performance for Mayer, who will join JR Motorsports in the CARS Tour this season. Mayer is the son of road racing and IndyCar veteran Scott Mayer.
Now he’s made a name for himself against some of the best in Late Model competition.
“A lot of this should carry over to the Late Model Stock races and the other Super Late Model races,” Mayer said. “It’s going to be a fun 2018 season and hopefully we learned what we needed to and people noticed a little bit.”
Mayer hopes to follow in the footsteps of Burton, who has used Late Models to emerge as one of the top prospects in the NASCAR landscape. A crash on Tuesday prevented him from winning back-to-back championships but three wins in eight nights was a major accomplishment.
Burton posted the fastest time in time trials but drew a six for the invert. But he quickly diced his way through the leaders, taking the lead from both Nasse and Steven Wallace on Lap 25. He checked out and never looked back.
“This is the best race I’ve ever put together,” Burton said. “That was awesome. It was a lot of fun. I hate that we couldn’t win the championship, but we come here to win races. We got that done tonight against a really good field.
“The thing is, this place is so hard to pass on, so it teaches you how to race. So to be able to come back and win so many races when we’ve had to keep inverting ourselves outside of the top-5, that’s makes me feel really proud.”
The complete results can be found below.
- Harrison Burton
- Stephen Nasse
- Tyler Ankrum
- Derek Kraus
- Steve Wallace
- Paul Shafer, Jr.
- Sam Mayer
- Carter Stokes
- Ryan Moore
- Anthony Sergi
- Matt Wallace
- Brad May
- Darrell Gilchrist
- Mason Diaz
- Justin Ashburn
- Steve Weaver
- Derek Griffith
- Nicholas Naugle
- Jared Irvan
- Chet Morrison
- Fredrick Moore
- Joe Graf, Jr.
- Mike Dahm
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