Nasse Outduels Chastain in Sunshine State Battle for SpeedFest PLM Win

Stephen Nasse charged from the 12th starting spot to win the Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up SpeedFest Pro Late Model race, taking the lead from Ross Chastain on lap 64.

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hero image for Nasse Outduels Chastain in Sunshine State Battle for SpeedFest PLM Win

The CRA/JEGS All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model portion of Protect Your Melon – Buckle Up SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park rekindled some Florida short track memories despite taking place in Cordele, Georgia.

Stephen Nasse charged from 12th on the starting grid to the victory in the Pro Late Model 100-lapper, finishing ahead of fellow Sunshine State driver Ross Chastain.

Driving to wins from deep in the field has become a bit of a calling card for Nasse over the years, and Saturday’s precursor to the Super Late Model 150 was no exception.

Results: Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up SpeedFest 2024

“That’s our typical move. We had a good car,” said Nasse. “Qualifying doesn’t mean everything. We got past a lot of those guys early. The tire really did great things. We had some great side-by-side racing out there. Hoosier did a really good job with it.

Nasse nearly saw the bid for the win end with an incident on lap 55. While in a four-car battle for the lead with Augie Grill, Michael Hinde and Bubba Pollard, Nasse and Grill made contact. Grill moved up the racetrack on the frontstretch, making further contact with Pollard and then the outside wall, ending his race.

"I guess you'd say good, hard racing," said Grill. "I'm just kind of disappointed being raced like that. Every car that got to my bumper today didn't try to race, they just ran through me. That's what caused all that.

"The 51 car got into the back of me, and I had no choice but to go up the hill. Bubba had filled the hole. It's a racing thing, but, man, it's not even halfway. Let's race, but let's be smart and not wreck somebody. I'm just frustrated. We had a really good car and wasn't able to show it."

"It was a hell of a race. I thought it was a great race," said Pollard, who pulled into the pits just a couple of laps after the incident. "It's a bad deal. I don't know if Augie got loose on the bottom. I was running that top on the outside. It was tough all day, you get a run and it's hard for these spotters to clear you."

"It almost looked like he got a little loose. I couldn't see him there on the bottom, he was in my blind spot. It looked like he got a little sideways there. Once he got clear, I don't know if they let him straighten it up but I was there. I got a run quick. I hate it for Augie. I know they work hard and I don't want to see anyone's stuff get torn up."

Hinde inherited the lead on the ensuing restart, but the battle quickly shifted to Nasse and Chastain for the top spot. Chastain led a handful of laps before Nasse took the lead for good on lap 64.

"We got pretty aggressive running toward the front when Augie got put in the wall," said Nasse. "Hinde, Bubba and those guys were racing hard. We got really lucky that we were on the other lane of them. Whatever they were doing, we were kind of opposite, so I wasn't having to race quite as hard. I think that played in our favor to be able to pull away at the end."

While it had been more than a decade since Chastain had raced a Pro Late Model, he found himself against a familiar foe from his early days racing Late Models in Florida.

READ MORE: Ross Chastain Itching to Get Behind The Wheel at SpeedFest

“This Rackley W.A.R. team had about a sixth-place driver today,” said Chastain after his runner-up finish. “I have not raced any car that drove like this in my life. I raced here a long time ago and I grew up driving Pro Late Models. They didn’t drive like these. They didn’t drive this good.

“It’s funny that all this time later in life, Stephen and I are racing for the win. I grew up racing against him. We’ve crashed each other more times than I can count. I know he was super-fast at the beginning of the race. We got by him on that restart. When he got back to me, I couldn’t run the bottom, let alone at his pace.”

George Phillips finished third, with Seth Christensen and Mike Hopkins rounding out the top five.

Nasse now has two SpeedFest Pro Late Model wins, with the first coming in 2020. Nasse also finished second in the SpeedFest Super Late Model event on Saturday, with Bubba Pollard taking the win.

-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America

JEGS/CRA ALL-STARS TOUR PROTECT YOUR MELON - BUCKLE UP SPEEDFEST RESULTS

FinNoDriver
Laps
Diff
1
51
Stephen Nasse
100
---
2
25
Ross Chastain
100
2.262
3
55
George Phillips
100
5.361
4
45
Seth Christensen
100
5.712
5
15H
Mike Hopkins
100
8.410
6
62
Josh Hicks
100
10.095
7
77
Cale Hall
100
10.167
8
69
Michael Hinde
100
10.554
9
20
Harrison Halder
100
11.481
10
38
Grant Thompson
100
11.774
11
7
Steve Dorer
100
12.194
12
71
Luke Yarbrough
100
12.549
13
12T
Christopher Tullis
100
14.015
14
17
Hudson Bulger
100
15.201
15
5J
Jeremy Miller
100
15.485
16
6
Brandon Lopez
100
15.823
17
5S
Scott Moseley
99
1 Lap
18
1G
Gage Rodgers
99
1 Lap
19
3
Chris Munson
98
2 Laps
20
26P
Bubba Pollard
57
43 Laps
21
43
Augie Grill
55
45 Laps
22
28
Kevin Cremonesi
55
45 Laps
23
14
Chase Pinsonneault
55
45 Laps
24
4
Kyle McCallum
55
45 Laps
25
67K
Zack Dixon
41
59 Laps
26
10J
Benjamin Jones
33
67 Laps
27
29
Allen Gordon
22
78 Laps
28
16
Tim Sozio
0
100 Laps


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