Nasse had good reason to be upset with his pit crew in the Snowball Derby
Last weekend, the Snowball took place at 5 Flags Speedway in Florida. Stephen Nasse was on hand to make another attempt at a race win in the super late model division.
He hired a pit crew for the 300-lap race.
Stephen Nasse has had his fair share of pit crews throughout his racing career. But, he says the pit crew he had in the Snowball Derby was the ‘absolute worst’.
The team started at the back of the field with a provisional starting spot. As they lined them up on the front stretch, Nasse would start on the very last row in 35th.
That left a steep hill to climb in the largest super late model race of the season. However, by lap 170, Nasse had climbed into the top 10. This is just passed the halfway mark.
Michael Atwell, Kaden Honeycutt and Corey Heim crashed to bring out the caution. Nasse went to pit road. The returned to the track with a loose wheel. he then returned to the pit lane to fix it. The crew said it was fixed, it wasn’t.
On lap 221, Nasse attempted to spin out his car and bring out the caution to save his race. As he did that, the wheel broke off and it stuffed his car into the turn four wall.
Nasse climbed from his car and walked the length of the pit lane. When he got to his stall, he tossed his helmet at his own crew. That led to pushing, shoving and the driver being pinned to the ground.
Stephen Nasse explains the trouble with his own pit crew
“I always find myself in the spotlight, one way or another. Whether it’s up front or getting in some drama,” Stephen Nasse stated on the Bottled Up podcast.
“We hired a pit crew. The guy’s name was Brad Robinson. He promised me great things. I had faith in him. I had a buddy recommend him to me. It all sounded great.”
“Got there and I could just tell it wasn’t going to be that great of a day when the guys that come to pit on my car, showed up, dropped their bags down and went to go talk with their buddies. Instead of looking over the car, checking the studs. Checking the jack posts. Making sure all their stuff’s good.”
“When I had to get on them early in the day about that. Like, ‘Hey, you guys got a job to do here. That ain’t come hang out with all your friends time.’ I thought that would put some sense into them.”
Pit stop 1
“Obviously, it didn’t. The first pit stop was ok. I lost three or four spots on pit road. I had some guys that I had passed on the race track get a good bit ahead of me. The biggest thing was all the lugs and everything got tight on that stop.”
Nasse returned to the half mile where he picked up the spots that he lost on pit road. Now, it’s time for the second stop of the race.
Pit stop 2
“Pretty slow. They didn’t show any raw speed. I was just hoping everything was good and tight. I pulled back on track and started working in my tires. I really couldn’t feel nothing. Then, it just started feeling like the ass of the car was moving around on me a little bit.”
A caution came out. Nasse didn’t pit because at this point, he didn’t think he had a loose wheel. After all, Nasse started at the tail of the field in 35th and he was inside the top 10. The race went back green.
“I really started feeling a vibration then. I come over the radio, ‘Something ain’t right. I don’t know whether we got a loose wheel or something’s just broken in the rear end.’ “
Another caution came out. This time, Nasse hit the pit lane.
Pit stop 3
“I told them to check over everything. They went right to the left rear of the car, seen the wheel was loose. They told me about it, got their gun and tried to tighten it. They said it was good.”
A lot of times, a loose wheel will round off the studs. That will prevent the wheel from getting tight. To solve that, teams will put a spacer behind the wheel to push the wheel onto a different place with fresh studs. It doesn;t sound like that happened here.
“So, I went back out. We could have spent as much time as we wanted to on that stop to make sure all the lugs were tight. But, they were in a rush and they sent me off and obviously, the problem wasn’t fixed.”
“Right when we went green, the vibration came back. Pitting under green, there’s no coming back from that. Our only option was to spin the car out because our problem wasn’t fixed. I was really going in there just trying to spin the car. I was already wrecking loose anyways when the wheel was coming off.”
“When it looped around, the wheel just flat came off and caused me to get into the wall. It ruined our day.”
It’s possible that it was a gun malfunction that caused the problems. Nasse stated that the gun didn’t sound right when the crew tightened up the wheel.
“I just really think that these guys were really inexperienced. I had a guy message me on twitter that these guys were crooks and they were using the Roush-Fenway name. They’re suppose to be MDM development guys. Some guy called them out big time because I guess he got screwed over by them as well.”
“They had Roush t-shirts on. The guy from twitter said they weren’t really affiliated with Roush, they just had the gear. Or they were on the team at one time and let go.”
“I hope that people learn to stay away from deals like that.”
The pit crew confrontation
“I come back down pit road and I seen those guys standing there. Every single one of them guys had a smirk on their face. Like they had just done something good. Nobody looked upset or apologetic.”
“That’s when I lost my temper. I tossed the helmet. That guy, he just cost me about $40,000 and a good run int he Snowball,” Nasse concluded.
Here you can listen to the full Bottled Up podcast.
Stephen Nasse tossed his helmet and hans device at his own crew
Stephen Nasse and Josh Brock teams involved in confrontation