It's the biggest win of the local track champion's career.
Brad May acknowledged his good fortune but it didn't change the performance or result --the local track champion upsetting the Southern Super Series field at New Smyrna Speedway.
The familiar No. 9 posted the third fastest speed in time trials but inherited pole position during a positional redraw prior to the race. May surged ahead at the start and wouldn't look back with a wire-to-wire victory in the Bash at the Beach 100.
The 44-year-old has won against this level of competition before in February during the World Series of Asphalt but this one was different.
"This is my favorite, I think," May told Racing America after the race. "Definitely the biggest win for Bobby Sears. Speedweeks wins are always huge but they're shorter, quicker races and the cars here tonight were as good as they are. Yes, this is our home track but these traveling guys have a lot bigger budgets so pulling this one out is huge."
Thunderstorms before the race delayed the start by two hours but also robbed the track of all the rubber laid down through an afternoon of practice. Weepers pushed through the cracks in Turn 3. Combined with a aero sensitive half-mile and New Smyrna proved nearly impossible to pass over 100 laps.
Was that part of what won the race for May?
"Heck yeah," he said.
"I was glad it was a draw and not an invert like in February because I hate getting back there," May said. "My favorite spot is the lead so I knew I'd have to fight hard at the start and restarts, but I just didn't want to see a caution because Nasse was figuring it out there at the end."
Bubba Pollard posted the fastest time in qualifying and was stuck outside the top-five and unable to get around Jett Noland for position. Noland himself, struggled to get around Jake Garcia.
Stephen Nasse boldly jumped from fourth to second on the only restart of the night on Lap 11 but wasn't able to complete a race winning pass.
Ultimately, that didn't matter either because Nasse immediately failed post-race inspection upon crossing the scales. It was something the driver says he and his team took responsibility for.
"It was an overlook on our part," Nasse said. "We knew we were close when we went through in tech earlier. We weren't trying to get anything by, and it was just a mistake. Really, there's no excuse. The only thing is that the seat cover was soaking wet, fire suit was soaking wet, I was wet and it was all a silly mistake.
"We should have moved some lead around because we know Ricky (Brooks) doesn't cut any slack. I hate it for the guys, and I hate it for myself because we had a really good run."
The disqualification dropped Nasse from second to 19th -- a significant loss of points too.
"I hate giving up the points," Nasse said. "I feel like we've had such a consistent season. Just to have this second-place finish would have been really nice to keep the momentum going, but we're not going to get anything by Ricky there."
Hunter Robbins (-5) meanwhile is back in a championship dogfight with Pollard and Nasse (-25) but believes he will need to be a lot better to win it over the final four races.
"Everyone is going to have a bad race," Robbins said. "We've had a couple too. There's still a long way to go. I'm excited about North Wilkesboro because we've never raced there. I feel like the track is going to race really well. Bubba is going to be good at Cordele. It's still wide open."
All told, the Battle at the Beach produced very challenging passing conditions.
Matthew Craig finished second with the Nasse disqualification.
"The main factor were the weepers in the bottom of 1 and 2," Craig said. "A lot of guys run the middle to the top in 1 and 2, so you'd get loose and slide up if you tried to pass on the bottom, but this track is hard to pass anyway. It's a tight track and everyone is just so good."
Jett Noland finished third in the official rundown.
"The rain definitely effected the track and it wasn't very wide," Noland said. "Fortunately, we had a car that could cut the bottom after the weepers dried up."
Just four races remain this season at Pensacola, Cordele, North Wilkesboro and Pensacola.
Southern Super Series Bash at the Beach 100 July 9 2021 New Smyrna Speedway
Updated Southern Super Series standings
Hunter Robbins -5
Stephen Nasse -25
Jake Garcia -52
Jett Noland -71