Sometimes you just have to “go to work” when you aren’t feeling your best and
such was the case with Stephen Nasse Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway as
he strapped into his red and white #51 “office” and dominated the 100-lap
Marion Edwards, Jr. Memorial Brighthouse Challenge Super Late Model race
presented by the Florida Firm of Colling, Gilbert, Wright and Carter.
Battling a virus and certainly not feeling his best, Nasse was eighth fastest
of the 22 cars that took time for the big event. Daniel Keene, Jr. set quick
time with a nice 17.698 second lap with Jesse Dutilly second quick at 17.785
followed by Rich Clouser, Brandon Booth and David Rogers. However, Keene
pulled an 11 pill for the inversion putting himself midway in the field for
the start of the race. That put young local favorite Anthony Sergi on the
pole with veteran Jeff Scofield on the outside of row one driving Tommy
Sytsma’s famous “Silver Bullet” #77. Nasse would line up fourth on the grid.
Scofield set the early pace leading the opening five laps but Nasse had his
car working perfectly and he assumed the point on lap six. The first caution
of the race waved on lap 12 when Michael Lira hit the turn one wall,
eventually coasting to a stop at the top of turn two. Following the restart
it was seventh-starter Rogers on the charge as he took second and began to
pace the leader Nasse. The green stayed out until lap 38 when Ray Black, Jr.
went for a spin in turn two.
The green remained out through the lap 50 half way mark with Nasse leading
Rogers, Scofield, Booth, T. J. Duke, Keene, Sergi, Billy Mowery, Dutilly and
Tim Russell. Booth slipped by Scofield on lap 51 to take third.
Caution number three was out on lap 58 as Dutilly and Mowery tangled on the
front stretch with Mowery’s car going hard into the concrete. Mowery was done
for the night after a good early run while Dutilly was sent to the rear of the
field for the restart for his involvement in the incident. On the restart
Rogers had what he called “old man brain fade” as he missed a shift and
dropped back to fifth in the running order. Keene took advantage and motored
up to second using the high line.
Keene and the rest of the field could only watch Nasse from several car
lengths back as he was leading fairly effortlessly. Lap 79 saw Black lose
control again on the back stretch where he nosed his car into the inside wall.
Black got going again but drove straight to his pit stall, out of action for
the rest of the evening. On the restart, Booth took second from Keene only to
find himself spinning on the front stretch on lap 89. Booth’s car spun toward
the inside wall but it was the water and mud that had collected in the grass
between the track and wall that did the most damage to Booth’s car eliminating
him from competition.
It looked like Keene had been involved in the Booth incident but he restarted
second and found himself in a battle with Rich Clouser who had worked his way
through the field after pitting for adjustments during an earlier caution
period. Keene promptly spun on his own coming off turn two to bring out the
final caution on lap 91. He continued but his car just did not seem right as
he trailed the remaining cars on the track at a reduced pace for the rest of
the event.
Rogers took advantage of the restart to get around Clouser but neither had
anything for Nasse as he drove away to score his second Brighthouse Challenge
Series win of the year here. Once he exited his winning machine, Nasse was
attended to by track EMTs who sat him down to give him some oxygen and cold
packs before he bounced up for victory lane ceremonies with a number of the
Edwards family members that were in attendance.
Rogers and Clouser completed the podium finishers while Dutilly rebounded from
the incident with Mowery to claim fourth. Sergi ran a strong steady race and
came home in the fifth spot. George Gorham, Jr. made a late run to nab sixth
ahead of Daniel Webster and Scofield while Brighthouse Challenge point leader
Joe Boyd did not have the night he was looking for taking ninth spot while T.
J. Duke took the checker in tenth. Eleventh through 14th and still running at
the end were Anthony Cataldi, Michael Atwell, David Green and Keene. Rounding
out the finishers (all DNF’s) were Booth, Tim Russell, Black, Jake Perkins,
Mowery, Harold Crooms, Lira and Doc McKinney. Boyd kept his point lead but
both Dutilly and Clouser made up some ground on him.
A nice field of 15 Sportsman cars tuned up for next week’s big 50-lap event
but saw a dominant performance by Todd Allen.
Daniel Conlin, Jr, jumped out to a huge advantage initially before Donny
Williams and Derrick Wood got together in turn three sending Wood into the
wall and out of the race while Williams continued despite some severe body
damage. Conlin led one more lap after the restart but Allen was flying and he
made an easy pass and began to pull away from the field.
John Buzinec brought out the second and final yellow flag on lap 21 as he came
to a halt at the bottom of turn two. That brought the field back to Allen for
the restart but Conlin missed a shift and bottled up the field allowing Allen
to quickly build up his big advantage again. Conlin fell back to fifth as
Austin Carr grabbed second but was too far behind Allen to mount a challenge.
Conlin raced his way back to third at the finish but it was Allen taking an
easy win for his first checker of the year.
Ron Gustafson took fourth ahead of Phillip Bessette with Roger Blevins sixth
trailed by Williams, Chris Brannon, Richard Fiore, Jr. and D. J. Farr.
Rounding out the finishers were Mike Dahm, Buzinec, Ted Helmes, Wood and Mike
Young Matthew Green led every lap in winning the E-Modified feature for his
second victory in a row and fourth on the season. Green’s run was slowed just
once when Matt Jarrett’s car stalled on track while he was running third.
Point leader Jarrett Korpi was second ahead of Jim Higginbotham, Mike Dahm,
George Dahm and Jarrett.
Reid Christiensen led the opening four laps of the Mini Stock feature but it
was David Russell taking over on lap five and leading the rest of the way to
score his third win of the year as this event ran without a caution flag.
Tyler Simpson had his three race win streak stopped but he took second ahead
of Ted Vulpius. Brad Blanton was fourth followed by Christiensen, Pat Wells,
Mark Broat and Mike Hanna.
After demolishing his Saturn two weeks ago, Zachary Curtis brought another one
out and simply destroyed the Strictly Stock field leading every lap and
winning by a wide margin. William Hindman was a couple of zip codes behind
Curtis in second as Curtis picked up a nice cash prize sponsored by Old School
Shane Sutorus made a late charge to take third over Doug Samion and Jimmy
Barron. Rounding out the finishers were Jeff Gross, Rick Bruce, Aaron
Overman, Rich Tyner, Ron McCreary and Robert Pence.