The Short Track Report: 4 high-octane questions for Stephen Nasse

Stephen Nasse is one of the stars of the CARS Late Model Series, the premier short-track racing series in America. Not only is he one of the most talented drivers out there, but he is always going to say what's on his mind and that makes for some of the best interviews. He was nice enough to talk to me about his racing plans for the rest of 2020, give a recap of his run in the Winchester 400, and a lot more.

SportsMap: So first and foremost, what an excellent drive you had in Sunday's Winchester 400, coming back from a penalty and then some mechanical issues as well. While it may not read as win on the stat sheet, it's got to feel good to get such a good result after all you went through.

Stephen Nasse: Yeah, you know it's definitely tough to swallow. I was pretty upset in the time being with the issues we were having. I felt like they were issues that could have been avoided by me and my guys but at the end of the day, my guys worked harder than anyone else. I feel in that pit area, they want to win just as bad as I do, if not more. So you can't be too mad at them. But at the end of the day, it was good to come back and have the car in one piece, so that's all you can really ask for.

SM: The penalty you guys got was kind of controversial as you were cleaning off some of the leaves on your grill. Can you kind of expand on that a bit and talk about what happened there?

SN: Yeah, I don't understand their thought process on some things. Winchester is notorious for having leaves on the back straight away. And this year it was much worse and it didn't take a very smart person to realize that they should have blown off or drove over before the race because those racecars should not be cleaning off that racetrack. I mean everyone who comes here spends way too much money to have to come here and deal with that. My water temp was pegged out and I wasn't going to spend the money just to keep my spot, but it was unfortunate.

SM: Talk a little bit about how you got your start in racing.

SN: Well growing up, my grandfather was big into racing, and they finally had a boy after having two girls. So when they finally had a boy, it was time to go racing! So they bought me a dirt bike, and I was falling off every 25 feet, so they decided it was time to go to four wheels. So after that we got a go-kart, and we moved up to Pro Late Model cars and on to Supers and it went on from there. But it's always been something I wanted to do and I love doing it.

SM: For some of the newer viewers of Late Model Racing like myself, can you kind of explain the differences between each class like the Super Late Models and the Pro Late Models?

SN: Well when you are looking at it visually, you can't really tell a difference but it mainly comes down to speed. In the Pro Mods, you have a Crate Motor which makes about 500 horse power and it's more of a level playing field. And when you look at the Supers, it's making about 650 horsepower and there is a lot more to control.

You can hear the entire interview on Audioboom below.

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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