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All American 400 Feels Wide Open After Practice Day

Everyone is chasing Donnie Wilson Motorsports but it's a deep field.


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Pretty much everyone in national Super Late Model racing world have descended upon Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway this weekend and they can’t wait to see where the All American 400 shakes out.

For better or worse, they won’t have to wait long with expected weather on Sunday moving the race to Saturday afternoon instead. That means one less day of practice and the importance of getting everything dialed in on Friday.

Sure, everyone is on different agendas, but the usual suspects were up front throughout the two hours of practice on Friday afternoon. There were the two Donnie Wilson Motorsports cars driven by Oxford 250 winner Cole Butcher and young perpetual winner William Sawalich and they were predictably fast.

"Feel really good after that last practice," Butcher said. "Good short run speed, good long run speed. Qualifying is going to be cold turkey and we go out 14th so we will see what happens after that."

Donnie Wilson has multiple wins as a driver at Nashville, including the 2017 All American 400, and Butcher values having the boss as a coach.

"He’s intense sometimes, doesn’t hold anything back, but that’s good," Butcher said. "I have a lot of respect for Donnie and appreciate everything he does for me. We’ll have Tyler Tanner up top tomorrow too and when the time comes, this team is going to dig down deep."

Wilson himself said he wishes he had the second day of practice, especially since Bubba Pollard was able to squeeze in a test day on Monday before the mid-week rains came, recognizing that Pollard looked very fast on Friday.

To that point, Pollard is feeling optimistic, especially considering a short slump this summer.

"I feel good," Pollard said. "Unloaded pretty good. We've run some laps earlier in the week, got comfortable and changed a lot on the race car. Really feel good about it. We were sitting second on that last run.

"I got to stay on it tonight, no going out and having fun, and be ready for a long race tomorrow."

One name that you don’t see near the top of the charts, or even on the charts at all in one session, is reigning Winchester 400 winner Stephen Nasse who can’t seem to find speed at all in either is Pro or Super Late Model.

And then came a broken rear end in the middle of the two sessions.

"We've really been struggling today," Nasse said. "Car isn't cooperating with us and we're doing everything we can get squeeze speed out of it and just can't find it. I'm just a half second off in both cars. And then after changing the rear end, I thought that would fix our problems, and it definitely didn't.

"We're just going to work on it and throwing a ‘Hail Mary’ at the thing. We're not getting practice and jumping right into qualifying. I'm pretty nervous to be honest with you. A little bit worried. I want to run good and carry that Winchester momentum into this one but for some reason, everything is just fighting against us."

Southern Super Series champion Hunter Robbins also wishes he had another day of practice for this big show to work out some gremlins too -- even as Ronnie Sanders Racing is generally feeling positive about their efforts.

"I didn’t think we were that bad," Robbins said. "Speed wise, we didn’t look that good on the charts but I thought it was driving good. 300 laps, two tires at a time, is different compared to say the Derby. It’s a little harder with the split compound.

"I don’t know, it messed us up last year, because we had a good car and was top five the first half, got behind on tires and ended up losing a lap and lost our shot. We want to run that good again be able to get to this finish this year."

All told, there are 38 cars on the grounds this weekend and every one of them will start the race, still a 300 lapper for the third year in a row. So while speed and drivability matters, simply getting to the end is part of the equation too.

No one knows that quite like 2020 winner Casey Roderick, who has brought that same car back under the Team Platinum banner in 2022.

"We have quite a bit of work to do," Roderick said. "We have to pick up the pace in qualifying run but we learned some things we can apply this last run. I feel confident in the car on the long run, but we need more short run speed.

"When they moved the schedule around, we’re getting impounded after qualifying so we’re not doing our qualifying trim like we planned so now it feels like a normal weekend that I think benefits us since we’re still looking for that qualifying and short run speed but we’re going to work on that tonight."

Qualifying for both the Pro and Super Late Models is scheduled for 1:15 CT at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway with racing set for 3 p.m. The CRA Street Stocks will kick off the action before the 300 lap Super Late Model race and a 100-lap season finale for the Nashville Fairgrounds Pro Late Model division.

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway 2020


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