ASA STARS National Tour
Ruggiero, Nasse Clash in Battle for 52nd Winchester 400 Win
Oct 15, 2023
Gio Ruggiero took his second ASA STARS National Tour win of the season at the Winchester 400 on Sunday at Winchester Speedway in what was a thrilling race.
What else happened during the 52nd Winchester 400 Presented by Vore’s Welding and Steel? Find out here.
A Historic Winchester 400
The 2023 Winchester 400 was a race of historical importance for many reasons. A record 22 lead changes took place during the race among nine different drivers. Ruggiero, Cole Butcher, Albert Francis, Stephen Nasse, Jake Garcia, Dakota Stroup, Noah Gragson, Chase Burda and Jake Finch all led laps throughout the 400-lap affair. Two drivers (Butcher, Nasse) led more than 100 laps in the race for the first time since 2017.
With his win, Ruggiero became the first driver to win the Winchester 400 in his first try since Ryan Lawler did so in his first and only start in 2007, while also becoming the first driver to win the race and the ASA/CRA Super Series title since Scott Hantz in 2006. At 17 years and nine days, he became the second-youngest driver to win the Winchester 400. His championship allowed Ruggiero to become the first driver to win both the ASA/CRA Super Series title and ASA Southern Super Series title, doing so in the same year.
Third-place finisher Stephen Nasse also made history on Sunday. He has now finished all 400 laps in the race six years in a row, setting a new record that was previously held by Bob Senneker when he won the race five years in a row from 1974-1978. He also extended a streak of podium finishes going back to his first win in 2019; and a streak of top-five finishes going back to 2017, which are both race records. Nasse is now fourth all-time in laps led in the Winchester 400, behind Mike Eddy, Bob Senneker and Butch Miller.
Majeski’s Points Lead Evaporates
After the Gandrud Auto Group 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway, it appeared that Ty Majeski’s lead would be unsurmountable. Two races later, it’s now anything but certain.
Maejski fell out of his first Winchester 400 start after just 26 laps due to engine issues, finishing 21st in the race. Meanwhile, Cole Butcher led the most laps, won the first stage and finished second in the second stage, and finished second for the second-straight race.
Unofficially, the gap is down to just eight points going into the season finale, while Gio Ruggiero has entered the points race as well. With bonus points and stage points up for grabs, anything can happen at Nashville.
Career-Best Finishes For Stroup, Bearden
Dakota Stroup and Logan Bearden finished fifth and sixth in Sunday’s Winchester 400, which were career-best finishes for both drivers.
For Stroup, it was his best-ever finish in a Super Late Model. The 2022 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour champion led seven laps just before the halfway mark and ran in the top-five most of the day before finishing fifth. Meanwhile, Bearden’s sixth-place run was his best finish in three ASA STARS National Tour starts, and a one-position improvement from the 2022 Winchester 400.
Garcia Falters Late
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie Jake Garcia was in contention for most of the Winchester 400, but the Georgia driver fell late in the race. He led 30 laps and was second and fifth in the two stages, but would finish 11th one lap down after a late-race spin. He has led laps in three of his Winchester 400 starts.
The ASA STARS National Tour heads to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday, November 5 for the season finale, the All American 400. Advanced tickets are available here.
ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour debuted in March 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced in October 2022, many of the best drivers in America will compete in the ten-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.
The ASA STARS National Tour is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner – the ASA/CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.
The Team Construction Winner’s Circle program has been announced as a part of the ASA STARS National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program provides additional financial incentives to those teams who support the series.
Track Enterprises, a racing promotions company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of Champion Racing Association (CRA) in January 2022 and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series, which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.
-ASA STARS National Tour Press Release
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America