Super Late Models
Everyone Chasing Derek Thorn in Derby Practice Again
Dec 2, 2022
Stephen Nasse doesn’t have to imagine what it would be like to win the Snowball Derby because he already has.
Well, he did until he suddenly didn’t, anyway.
Of course, Nasse took the checkered flag by the end of a wild race in 2019 but was disqualified in technical inspection for titanium brake caps and what he felt was an unfair process that led to them being ignored throughout the week.
All of this to say, Nasse doesn’t have to think about how it would feel to kiss the Tom Dawson Trophy because he did that too, until it was taken away. Just like the Snowflake 100 victory that was taken away the next year literally as he celebrated in Victory Lane as a result of a bump-and-run on Bubba Pollard that was deemed egregious.
Nasse doesn’t have to imagine what it would be like to win these races, because he already unofficially has.
"I think about it all the time," Nasse said. "It's a great experience being able to do it twice but not to have either of those trophies is definitely a bummer, but it drives me because I want nothing more than to have those trophies sitting in our shop.
"We talk about it all the time, we're always thinking about it, and it's the one that got away and still bites us."
At 27-years-old, it's not like Nasse is going anywhere anytime soon, not NASCAR and not away.
"We're going to keep working," Nasse said. "We have a lot of years left and we're having more fun now than we have in a long time."
This is a potentially history making run that Nasse is on heading into the Derby having won three races in a row. They were all big ones too in the Southern Super Series finale at Five Flags Speedway, the Winchester 400 and All-American 400.
"If we could pull this one off, it would be huge," Nasse said.
Yeah, no kidding, historic even. That's because no one has won all three triple crown marquee events in the same season and only a handful have won all three period.
"I try not to think of that," Nasse said. "It's like points racing. You would like to win a championship but you're just trying to go race by race, or at least, that's how I look at it.
"So, this is just another Derby for me. We are putting the same effort as we always do and not thinking about the history or trying to force it. The Snowball Derby is a hard race to win by itself because we have to have our stuff right, catch some brakes, and beat a lot of really good cars.
"I think we'll be pretty good, but it's going to take a lot of work."
That’s what he said on Wednesday anyway, and come Thursday, it was a bit of a struggle. His family team didn’t even take their Pro Late Model out onto the track because the entire focus was on the Super Late Model.
On the bright side, Nasse wasn’t particularly pleased with his car at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville last month either, having no expectation that he would realistically win that race, and he did.
"It's kind of like what happened during our test," Nasse said. "I think sometimes we overwork ourselves going into races but we tested and it just wasn't good. We tore the car apart trying to find out what it was and couldn't find anything.
"We put the car back together, made sure nothing was licked out bound, and that last practice day, we were suddenly a lot better. We always go through things like this, probably a bit too often.
"So it's been business as usual from that standpoint. The Derby is the big one, so maybe overthinking is just part of it."
And maybe a little overthinking about what it would be like to get back to Victory Lane at the Derby.