It took 13 tries but Stephen Nasse finally reached victory lane in the Florida Governor’s Cup on Sunday at New Smyrna Speedway.
To get there, Nasse had to survive a variety of mechanical issues and then a hard-charging William Byron over the final two runs but it was ultimately a mechanical issue for Byron that sealed the victory inside the final five laps.
Specifically, it was oil pressure that prevented Byron from making one last charge at his Anthony Campi Racing teammate and Nasse drove away unchallenged for the last four circuits. Nasse was pretty emotional upon climbing out of the car, greeted by his family, and an enthusiastic hometown crowd in Florida.
“It doesn’t make up for the (Winchester) 400 but I’ve wanted my name on this trophy for a long time and I just don’t have the words of gratitude for my parents, Anthony Campi Racing and everyone who made this happen,” Nasse said.
Nasse was forced to start the race from the rear with a power steering issue and drove his way up to sixth when he developed another issue that again sent him to the rear.
But attrition was the story of the day throughout the entire field, with Donnie Wilson Motorsports drivers Gio Ruggiero and Jesse Love failing to reach the finish despite contending for the win over the first 150 laps too.
Which made it fitting in a way that the race was decided by attrition too. Byron was seemingly faster than Nasse but couldn’t overcome the defensive line before a competition caution with 16 laps to go. Nasse again got away from Byron on the final restart but the battle closed up.
Byron worked under Nasse inside of five to go when he slowed and that was that for the race.
“I thought he was going to get me for sure,” Nasse said. “He definitely had the better car. I hate that it happened to him but it was hard racing for sure. He was trying to run me up the track and I was trying to run him down. I knew if he got by me, I was going to have no chance. I had to hold him off but I appreciate him running me clean.”
Nasse was worried that he might have cut Byron’s tire but that wasn’t the case.
“Yeah, we lost oil pressure and I don’t think it was related to some stuff we had last night with the spark plug issue,” Byron said. “I started sputtering off 2 and my gauges went red. Luckily we were able to limp it back around and not bring out a caution. I was proud of the speed and the work. We just wanted to get ready for the Snowball Derby and get back in the swing of things with these cars and we accomplished that mission this weekend.”
Florida veterans Anthony Sergi and Jesse Dutilly completed the podium after a hard fought battle between the two.
“We just ran out of race there,” Sergi said. “We had a brake issue in our first 25 laps and had to manage it there until the end.”
For Dutilly, it was his first race back in over a year and it results in a podium.
“I just wish we didn’t race as hard with some of the guys we raced with but you get that in short track racing,” Dutilly said. “Not too bad for the first race back and we’ll be back next year.”
Florida Governor’s Cup
New Smyrna Speedway
November 12 2023
- Stephen Nasse
- Anthony Sergi
- Jesse Dutilly
- Michael Goddard
- Daniel Webster
- Brad May
- Bobby Good
- Johnny Aramendia
- Conner Sutton
- Bryton Horner
- William Byron
- Ross Francisco
- Jesse Love
- Michael Atwell
- Jonathan Knee
- John Coffman
- Brian Finney
- Ryan Herbert
- Gio Ruggiero
- Trent Henick
- Bobby Gordon
- George Gorham
- Wes Burton
- Nick White