Wilson & Nasse will let their cars do the talking Friday in the Blizzard 125
After Settling Things with Fists, Words in April, Wilson and Nasse Want Cars to do Talking at Universal Fabricators 125
By Chuck Corder
Stephen Nasse is honest with himself.
“I’m expecting boos,” said the Super Late Model driver from Pinellas Park.
Nasse knows his last visit to Five Flags Speedway probably didn’t win him many fans. Delivering punches while you’re rival is still strapped into his seat tends to leave a bad taste in some folks’ mouths.
The 23-year-old Nasse of the Jett Concrete No. 51 has since admitted that his response and subsequent aggressive antics toward Oklahoma City late model veteran Donnie Wilson were unwarranted and out of line.
However, Nasse explains in the heat of the moment and previous incidents with Wilson led to him blowing his top.
“The race before we made the transition to Jett, I watched (Wilson) him do it to somebody and it wrecked me as well,” Nasse recalled. “If he ever needs a spot, he just runs you up, even if it’s early in the race. I bit my tongue that night and I didn’t say anything to him. Donnie is one of those guys that will dive down three car-lengths deep to get past you, and then do a slide job type deal in the corner to run you into the wall.
“For me, if I see someone better than me at that point in the race, I usually let them go.”
While both men have taken accountability for their actions, there’s nothing to suggest the two have made up.
That’s why the Universal Fabricators 125 on Friday at Five Flags holds so much intrigue. The second Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series race of the season, and sixth of an 11-race Southern Super Series slate, Friday’s race marks the first time Nasse and Wilson have shared the same track.
“I haven’t talked to him,” Wilson said. “You gotta put it in your rearview mirror. No one wants torn-up racecars. The moral of the story is both of us could’ve given each other room. I preach patience. So we have to look past that and go on, and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
While Nasse has continued to race since that late April showdown, Wilson has been recovering from foot surgery.
“Doctors told me I couldn’t walk for two weeks,” Wilson said. “And, it’s still tender when I don’t have a shoe on it. But, I’ll be able to drive come Friday.”
Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday with the WCI.com Pro Trucks (25 laps), the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks (20 laps), and a fireworks spectacular also sharing the speedway marquee. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, military members and students; $5 for children ages 6 to 11; free for kids 5-and-under.
How the Nasse-Wilson feud unfolded came following a restart on Lap 52 of 125 when the pair made it three-wide with Wilson sandwiched between race leader Bubba Pollard near the apron and Nasse near the outside wall.
“Restarts are where you’re gonna gain,” Nasse explained. “Four or five laps later the field usually fans out and goes single-file. The way I was looking at it, at the time, was any racer wants to try to move through when there’s an opportunity.
“Donnie was crowding up the front straightaway when he didn’t get a good restart. I was outta room up at the wall. Bubba was digging on the inside, and I know I’ve got speed to stay with him. I had the position on Donnie, so I stayed there and he came across me. It was all three hard-nosed racers trying to get it all.”
But only Pollard escaped. Nasse and Wilson’s cars came to a stop at the exit of Turn No. 1. As captured from different angles in the crowd, a furious Nasse climbed out of his No. 51 and marched toward the window net of Wilson’s No. 2.
Spewing a slew of profanities and other choice words at Wilson, Nasse expected that would be enough to lure Wilson out of his car.
“He’s got a past history with his attitude and throwing fits and stuff,” said Wilson, who took Nasse’s verbal onslaught in stride. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about the kid; he’s a really good racecar driver. He just needs to control his emotions. Whether it’s a good day or bad day, you learn from it.”
Instead, Nasse said Wilson tugged on his radio cord, which is why in the many videos you can see Nasse jerk back from Wilson’s window net.
“My dad has always taught me to stand up for myself,” Nasse said. “And I can understand why fans say Wilson may have been defenseless. But, if somebody is hitting me like that, I’m climbing outta the right side of car or the left side if they back up like I did.
“Instead, I get this deer in the headlights stare from him. That (upset) me off even more. He claims he boxes as a hobby, but I don’t know how much he wanted to fight. If I’m boxer, I’m getting out of the car and beating your (butt). That’s me. And, I’m a big boy. You’d be surprised how fast I can get out of that car. And nothing’s gonna stop me from getting out.”
Nothing stopped Nasse, who peppered Wilson’s window net with a serious of combinations.
Wilson said it wasn’t for a lack of trying to escape his car.
“I was trying to climb out as fast as I could,” he said. “But by the time I got out, security was there. I train in boxing, so I ain’t got any problems there.”
It was tough to tell how many landed on Wilson, but Nasse finally got what he wanted when Wilson began to climb out of his car.
By that time, track officials had arrived and were busy trying to separate the two, whose sparring match had turned into a wrasslin’ affair.
Finally apart and order restored, fans quickly tagged Nasse as the “heel” of the fight, as the crowd relentlessly showed their displeasure with him as he made the long walk back to his pits.
“The fans know, when you see a guy come to another racecar and wail on the driver, that’s chicken,” Wilson said. “You wanna fight? Let me get out my car, and we’ll get after it and settle it like men, not like coward.
“The moral of the story is it’s all behind us. We’re racers not fighters, and I wanna win some races. I hate it, and I know he hates it after it’s all transpired. If that happens with two (laps) or three to go, I think everything is fair. But only 50 laps in, you gotta use your head and back off. That’s the way I look at it.”
Nasse knows one way to quiet the haters this week.
“It’s not going to matter if I’m in Victory Lane,” he said.