A History of the All American 400 Part No. 2 – The 21st Century
Nov 1, 2023
Austin Nason had a memorable All American 400 one year ago, for all the wrong reasons.
After starting at the rear of the field, Nason was in contention for the victory at the crown jewel event held at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway each year. However, his race ended against the outside wall in turn one.
As he battled three-wide for the win with Matt Craig and Cole Butcher, Nason – literally and figuratively – was stuck in the middle. Contact spun his car around at such a high rate of speed, air packed underneath the car and picked up the right-rear corner as he spun towards turn number one, collecting Butcher and William Sawalich.
It was one of the wildest incidents in recent memory in Super Late Model competition, but it’s one Nason would much rather forget. Not only did it cost him a shot at the All American 400, it cost him a race car.
“It just popped up on my Facebook memories,” said Nason. “I try not to watch that one. That one hurt, and it was a total loss of a race car. When you’ve got to work on your own stuff and build your stuff, it’s hard to go back and watch one of those deals.”
While not as dramatic, this has also been the story for Nason’s ASA STARS National Tour season. There have been strong showings, including six top-10 finishes in nine races, and Nason sits fifth in series points as a result.
However, Nason is still searching for that first series win in Sunday’s season finale.
“We’ve had some really good race cars all year long, we just haven’t had luck. We restarted on the outside of the front row at Toledo, got a flat right-front tire. At Winchester, we were running top 10 there.
“We haven’t had the luck we needed. Just like at the All American last year, we were there but just couldn’t finish it out.”
Nason hopes to change that at Nashville, which had become a regular stop for Nason before its addition to the inaugural ASA STARS National Tour schedule. Along with being in contention for the win in last year’s race, Nason finished fifth in the 2020 All American 400.
Nason overcame an issue in qualifying to put himself up front, leading 11 laps before the late-race incident.
“I feel like we had a really good car last year. We had a distributor take a failure during qualifying. We started dead last and made our way up there by the end of it. We had good short-run speed, just lacked on the long run.
“I feel like we put ourselves behind the eight-ball last year when we had that problem with the distributor in qualifying. We had to get track position. At Nashville, once you get 10, 15 laps into a run, everything equals out and you just have to ride. You can pick off a couple of spots here and there, but you don’t have that forward momentum where you can really pick off guys.”
Nason also comes into the weekend confident in a new race car that has been fast all summer long. He hopes the car will be just as fast when it heads south to Nashville this weekend.
“We built a new race car over the summer this year. The thing’s been fast everywhere we’ve taken it. I’m excited to get down there and give that one a try. I just hope we put ourselves in a better situation than we did last year.
“We’ve got good pace everywhere we’ve been this year, and really good pace at Nashville the last three years we’ve been there. I think we can figure something out, put our strategies together and be there.”
Fans can watch All American 400 coverage all weekend long on Racing America. Click here to learn more about this weekend's event.