A History of the All American 400 Part No. 2 – The 21st Century
Take a look at the history of the All American 400 since the turn of the century.
The All American 400 is one of the most prestigious races in all of short track racing, going back to 1981 when the event was first run at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Today, we look at the final part of the history of the All American 400.
Part No. 2 – The 21st Century
After two years, the Champion Racing Association and Southern All-Star Asphalt Series brought the All American 400 back to the newly-renamed Music City Motorplex in 2003 – sort of. The 2003 race was called the Patriot 200 and was a support race for the ASA National Tour’s BF Goodrich Traction T/A Tires 300 the next day. It was retroactively considered an All American event after the full 400 was resurrected a year later after the strong field of cars and the sanctioning help.
Nearly 60 made the trip to Nashville for the race that year, with 40 taking the green for the main event. Wayne Willard led more laps than anyone else at 52, but an engine failure ended his day on lap 122. Wisconsin driver Brian Hoppe took the lead with 41 to go and won the Patriot 200 over Ricky Turner and Russell Fleeman.
The All American was officially resurrected in 2004 by what’s now the ASA/CRA Super Series as a 300-lap non-points race. Willard led over 100 laps yet again, but a trailing arm failure took him out of the race early for the second-straight year. That year’s series champion Chuck Barnes Jr. led 132 laps on the day and won in a green-white-checkered finish over 1997 ARTGO Challenge Series champion Eddie Hoffman and Jason Hogan, who lost the lead to Barnes with ten laps to go.
While Hogan lost the lead late in 2004, the roles were reversed the next year. The Georgia driver passed race-long leader Ryan Mathews with 13 laps to go and won the 2005 All American over Boris Jurkovic and Charlie Bradberry. It was the only 13 laps he led all race after leading 52 the year before.
2006 would see the All American 400 be split into two races, with two different drivers being listed as All American winners every year through 2010. CRA and the local Pro Late Model division had separate 200-lap races in 2006-2007 and 2010, while the ASA Late Model Series sanctioned the Pro late Model race in 2008.
A 100-lap qualifying race was needed for the drivers who were outside the top-25 in qualifying just to get into the Super Late Model portion of the All American 400. After a dominating run by Chris Gabehart ended with mechanical issues, Boris Jurkovic passed Jake Ryan with three laps to go to win his biggest race to date. In the Pro Late Model event, Eddie Hoffman passed race dominator Derek Thorn with 28 to go to pick up the win.
The 2007 event would be named the Adam Petty Memorial All American 400, as well as in 2008. Months removed from a shocking win at the Redbud, 17-year-old Johnny VanDoorn went to Nashville one year after not making the race and won the CRA portion of the All American 400. He led the most laps that day, but had to pass former winner Jason Hogan with eight to go to seal the deal. Meanwhile, Hoffman went back-to-back in the Pro Late Model race after leading the final 51 laps and winning over Jacob Goede and Keeton Hanks.
After dominating the race in 2006, Chris Gabehart found retribution two years later in 2008 in the Super Late Model portion of the All American 400. He took the lead from Donnie Wilson with eight to go and survived multiple green-white-checkered restarts to claim a guitar ahead of Boris Jurkovic. The Pro Late Model race also featured a late pass as Michigan driver Brian Campbell got by Chris Wimmer with 13 to go to take the win.
After the 2009 All American was rained out, two All American 400 winners were crowned in the same year for the last time in 2010. While the 2008 races featured late passes, the two races two years later featured one lead change altogether. Driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, TJ Reaid led all 200 laps to win the Super Late Model portion of the event over Chase Elliott and Ross Kenseth, the last driver to win a Super Late Model-contested All American after leading more than 100 laps. Dillon Oliver took the lead on lap 55 and dominated the rest of the Pro Late Model race to win over Mason Mingus and Tyler Miles.
After the 2011 race was canceled, the Pro All Stars Series came in and sanctioned the All American 400 for the first and only time. For the first time since 2000, the All American 400 would be a true 400-lap race, but rain would end the race at lap 220. Despite the shortened distance, there were still 18 lead changes in the shortened event among nine drivers. Ross Kenseth took the lead on lap 205 after Kyle Busch wrecked while leading, and would hold it until the rain came and ended the race. He would go on and win the Winchester 400 the next weekend.
The 2013 All American 400 returned to 300 laps and was the season finale for the inaugural ASA Southern Super Series season. The battle for the championship was just as good as the battle for the win, with Daniel Hemric and Bubba Pollard in the mix for the title. Future NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott led the final 30 laps and checked off the final crown jewel Super Late Model event left on his list before moving up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series and winning the championship the next year. Meanwhile, Pollard was involved in a wreck with 17 to go that would knock him out of the race, finishing 20th. Hemric finished second and beat Pollard for the Southern Super Series championship by just one point.
The All American would become a 300-lap Pro Late Model event in 2014 and 2015 with no sanctioning. John Hunter Nemechek led all but six laps and won the race in dominating fashion over Willie Allen and 2004 winner Chuck Barnes Jr. Just over a month later, he would win his first-career Super Late Model race in the biggest one of them all, the Snowball Derby.
The 2015 race saw Daniel Hemric use an off-weekend in the NASCAR Truck Series to win the All American in his now-wife Kenzie’s car over Bubba Pollard and defending race winner John Hunter Nemechek. He took the lead from local favorite Cole Williams with 71 to go and went on to win. Cole Rouse led 145 laps, but could only muster a fifth-place finish.
Super Late Models returned to the All American 400 in 2016, with the full 400-lap distance being completed for the first time since 2000. Casey Roderick led 141 laps, but his race would end with 68 to go. The race saw 13 lead changes, with the last one coming with 29 to go when Bubba Pollard took the lead from Stephen Nasse and went on to win over Derek Thorn and Raphael Lessard.
As was the 2016 race, the 2017 and 2019 races were also unsanctioned Super Late Model races. The 2017 All American 400 saw seven different drivers lead laps and no driver lead more than 99. That driver would be Donnie Wilson, who led the final 60 laps but had to hold off a late charge from Spencer Davis for the biggest win of his driving career.
Casey Roderick made a late charge through the field, passing several cars in the final five laps and getting by the leader out of turn four. The only thing is he was three laps down. After not finding out he was racing that weekend until the Thursday before, Mason Mingus won the biggest race of his career at his home track ahead of Chandler Smith and Boris Jurkovick. He made up a lap during the race and took the lead with 27 to go after Stephen Nasse wrecked out of the lead after tangling with Smith following a restart.
The All American went back to a 300-lap Super Late Model race in 2020 as the ASA Southern Super Series, ASA/CRA Super Series, ASA Midwest Tour, and CARS Super Late Model Tour all joined forces to sanction the event. The Southern Super Series and CARS Tour both crowned champions, while it was a non-points event for CRA and the Midwest Tour.
Derek Thorn dominated much of the race, leading 202 of the first 206 laps. The race would get turned on its head however when he and runner-up Carson Hocevar made contact following a restart, knocking them both out of the race. Corey Heim would lead for just over 30 laps before he had an engine expire. The race would then come down to Casey Roderick and Chandler Smith, with the former taking the lead for the final time with 23 to go to claim the All American 400 victory and redemption from the year before. Stephen Nasse (SSS) and Matt Craig (CARS) claimed championships that day.
The ASA/CRA Super Series and ASA Southern Super Series co-sanctioned the two most recent All American 400’s. Chandler Smith found himself in the mix for the third year in a row in 2021, but would once again come up empty after a mechanical issue knocked him out of the race with 20 to go after leading 190 laps. It opened up the door for Matt Craig, who passed Derek Griffith with 14 to go and outdueling former Pro Late Model track champion Jackson Boone for the win.
Last year’s All American 400 saw 12 different lead changes among eight drivers. Last year’s ASA Midwest Tour champion Casey Johnson led the most laps at 82, but would finish fourth. It was a four-car battle between Matt Craig, Austin Nason, Cole Butcher and William Sawalich going to the white flag, but all four would be taken out in a big wreck that saw Nason nearly go upside down. Stephen Nasse inherited the lead and held off polesitter Luke Fenhaus and Gio Ruggiero for his first All American 400 win. Fenhaus was later disqualified in post-race tech due to an ignition box infraction, which moved Ruggiero to second in his Super Late Model debut and Kyle Crump to the podium.
The newest chapter in the history of the All American 400 will be written on Sunday, as the inaugural ASA STARS National Tour champion will be crowned. It will be the return of ASA to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for the first time since October 2003.
Sunday’s Curb Records/Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers All American 400 presented by US Tank and Cryogenic Equipment is part of a full weekend of action featuring Super and Pro Late Model practice and 1/4-mile racing action on Friday night; All American 400 qualifying and races for the Vore’s Compact Touring Series, CRA Street Stocks, and JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour on the 5/8-mile Saturday; and culminating with the season-ending ASA STARS National Tour All American 400 on Sunday afternoon.
The ASA STARS National Tour heads to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday, November 5 for the season finale, the All American 400. Special discounted three-day tickets are available here.
The ASA STARS National Tour opened the ten race, six-state schedule at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 11. Gio Ruggiero is the most recent winner, claiming the victory in the Winchester 400 on October 15.
For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour debuted in March 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced in October 2022, many of the best drivers in America will compete in the ten-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.
The ASA STARS National Tour is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner – the ASA/CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.
The Team Construction Winner’s Circle program has been announced as a part of the ASA STARS National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program provides additional financial incentives to those teams who support the series.
Track Enterprises, a racing promotions company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of Champion Racing Association (CRA) in January 2022 and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series, which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.
-ASA STARS National Tour Release
-Photo credit: Racing America