NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Stephen Nasse got a late start to the 55th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway, but he appears to be peaking at just the right time.
Nasse drove his No. 51 Jett Motorsports entry to victory in Friday’s 100-lap pro late model finale after overtaking Jett Noland in the final 10 laps. It was the culmination of a race-long battle between the duo that saw both men take turns at the front of the field.
Noland had taken the lead on lap 23, with Nasse following him for more than 40 laps until finally getting around him on lap 67. Nasse would pull away and lead comfortably until the yellow flag waved for a competition caution with 20 laps left.
The restart that followed saw Noland muscle his way back by Nasse, but a number of caution flags would follow that would slow the field. The worst of those incidents saw Chase Williams slam the backstretch wall and nearly flip before coming to rest on all four tires.
When the action finally got going again Noland was able to hold the lead, but his time at the front was brief as Nasse got back under Noland and regained the lead on lap 95. He would go on to lead the rest of the race.
“I knew he was going to make it tough on me,” Nasse said of Noland. “He knew he had one coming from me too, running me up the track like that. I know Jett real well. Thankfully we came out of there with no wrecked race cars and that’s what’s most important.”
While Nasse celebrated the victory, USAC star Kody Swanson got to celebrate his first championship in a stock car after claiming the World Series Pro Late Model championship following an eighth-place finish.
Swanson entered the race needing to finish ninth or better to claim the championship no matter what his closest challenger, Connor Jones, did. However, Jones was eliminated from the race in a late incident, all but clinching the title for Swanson despite a spin by Swanson a few laps later.
“It sure means a lot,” Swanson said of the championship. “God has blessed me with so many wonderful people in my life from my family from the very beginning to my wife and kids and this team. For them to take a chance on me, bringing me down here to one of the toughest places and toughest weeks to run late models and to come down here to try and learn.
“So to come away with the success we did and the championship is wonderful.”
Stephen Nasse, Jett Noland, Brandon Oakley, Casey Johnson, Will Cox, Michael Hinde, Justin Drawdy, Kody Swanson, Jerry Artuso, Cody Hall, David Weaver, Zachary Tinkle, Chase Williams, Kevin Folan, Andrew Scheid, Conner Jones, Jean-Phillipe Bergeron, Colt Hensley, Jerick Johnson, Hayden Sprague, Chad Butz, Tommy Neal, Hunter Wright, Dalton Smith, Nick Panitzke, Joey Miller, Braison Bennett, Jade Buford.