The World Series of Asphalt wound to its conclusion on Saturday evening after nine nights of racing action. The David Rogers Super Late Model division took center stage on this final night at New Smyrna Speedway to contest the Orange Blossom 100. In the end, it was Pinellas Park, FL driver Stephen Nasse who would claim his first ever win in this event and his eighth overall career triumph in SLM competition at the World Series.
It was Nasse’s second win of the weekend after having taken the Pro Late Model feature at New Smyrna on Friday night.
Derek Griffith came into the night with the points lead in the 2021 version of the World Series of Asphalt and the New Hampshire ace looked to be a serious threat to claim another win as he set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 17.756 seconds around the half-mile oval. That run beat out Jesse Love, Bubba Pollard, Stephen Nasse, Sammy Smith, Dan Fredrickson, Daniel Dye, Jacob Goede, Ryan Moore and Connor Mosack.
The pre-race invert placed Nasse on the pole with Pollard, Love and Griffith filling in the remainder of the first two rows.
Nasse took the lead early on in the 100-lap feature but was soon challenged by Love trailing close behind. Further back, drivers such as Smith, Goede, Pollard and Brad May fought for positions within the top-5. An early caution for the stalled car of Daniel Dye briefly slowed the action on lap 10 but when green flag racing resumed, Nasse and Love again separated themselves from the pack and looked to settle the issue among themselves.
Griffith found trouble early on as he brushed the outside wall and struggled with an ill handling race car throughout the event.
During the race’s middle section, Love moved right to the rear bumper of the leading No. 51 machine and applied heavy pressure. On multiple occasions, the 16-year-old rising star would look inside of Nasse but was never quite able to find enough traction to complete the pass.
As the leaders worked through slower traffic in the latter stages, Nasse began to put some distance between himself and his closest challenger. At the same time, the fight continued among Smith, May, Pollard, and Fredrickson further back.
In the end, however, Nasse cruised under the checkered flag to claim the win.
By virtue of his 9th place finish, Derek Griffith secured his second consecutive World Series of Asphalt championship in the Super Late Model division.
“I wasn’t really ever confident,” Nasse admitted in his victory lane interview on NBC Track Pass. “The 21 car was good all night and he definitely put some pressure on me. Luckily we hit some lapped cars and I was able to get a pretty good gap. Our 51 car was pretty good tonight. Jett Motorsports has worked hard this weekend. We were still off a little bit but we pulled through and got lucky with our starting spot tonight being able to start from the front row.
“I feel like the key to winning something this week was starting from the front row, for sure,” the winner added. “We were able to do it tonight and it feels real good after 100 laps.”
The 25-year-old veteran of short track racing was reflective about adding another trophy to his collection, particularly one from his home state.
“It always feels good to add any different win to your resumé no matter where it is,” Nasse declared. “To be here with all my family, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Runner-up Love was disappointed after coming up just short.
“No excuses for that, I just wasn’t good enough tonight” he insisted. “I had the car to beat, but you know, he’s(Nasse) one of the best in the business and he got me tonight. I feel bad for my team. We had the best car tonight but we didn’t win. I don’t take that stuff lightly so we’ll keep trying. I want to win one bad.”
Please consider also reading “Despite ARCA disappointment, Derek Griffith garners second World Series of Asphalt crown“
Feature Finish: 1. Stephen Nasse, 2. Jesse Love, 3. Sammy Smith, 4. Brad May, 5. Bubba Pollard, 6. Dan Fredrickson, 7. Ryan Moore, 8. Jacob Goede, 9. Derek Griffith, 10. Mason Diaz, 11. T.J. Duke, 12. Justin Mondeik, 13. Kelly Moore, 14. Michael Hinde, 15. Kody Swanson, 16. Steve Weaver, 17. Bobby Good, 18. Patrick Thomas, 19. Connor Mosack, 20. Daniel Dye