As we close in on the All American 400 weekend, we wanted to look back at some of the numbers that might be hard to top or never to be topped in this race. The event, the Nashville Fairground Speedway and all the sanctioning bodies that have been involved to keep this race going know of the race's history. Here are some numbers we think will be hard to be topped.
Three Wins for Jeff Purvis: Sure, this is not the five Snowball Derby wins that Rich Bickle has, but when you think about the track and the event, it starts to shine a light in this direction. The track is the longest of the venues hosting the big events on the east coast, so the lap count can be hard on equipment at ether 300 or 400 circuits. Purvis won the race three times, but in typical Jeff Purvis fashion, it could have been four or five times. Winning three is not outside of the possibility, but the competition and sheer luck makes getting the three hard and topping it even harder.
Eight Top Fives for Butch Miller: Forget three wins, how about eight top five runs? First off, you have to run the race that many times and then you basically have to have no mistakes at all for a good number of years.
15 Starts for Eddie Mercer: In order for someone to run this race 15 times, they are going to have to be around short track racing a while. Mercer leads all drivers with 15 starts. The next active guy by our books is Johnny Brazier with 12. It seems unlikely that Brazier will run the race four more times. There have also been a handful of years where the race was not held due to weather, track closure or other reasons.
1986 DNQ List: We know the early days of the All American 400 have produced some big names going home. In 1986, we saw these names on the DNQ list: Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Freddy Fryar, Bobby Gill, Ronnie Sanders and many others. At this point, Elliott was not a Cup Champion, Gill was really just beginning his career and Fryar was in the twilight of his racing days. Either way, it’s just one of the impressive lists of drivers who did not run that year.
Leading Every Lap: Gary Balough did lead 298 of 400 laps one year, but back when TJ Reaid won the split format event he led all 200 laps of the Super Late Model race and will likely be the only driver to ever lead the whole event. Now with controlled pit stops, it is possible for drivers to stay up front, but history shows us that leading the most laps does not always work out at Nashville.
817 Laps Led: Gary Balough also has a record that will likely never be topped without some longevity and a format change. Balough has led 817 laps at the All American 400. That’s two full races at a 400-lap distance. Today, the race is run at 300 laps and the highest active totals are short of 400. We think this one is a safe bet for now to remain with Hot Shoe Gary Balough.
-Photo credit: Jeff Sandt