As the 28thAll American 400 approaches this weekend, modern day gladiators are traveling from every point of North America towards Nashville, TN. Each of them, dreaming of hoisting the guitar that signifies being the best short track racer in America. And, with that goes regional pride as well. Butch Lindley did the South proud taking the in the Inaugural All American 400 in 1981. Not to be outdone, the Midwest took their turn in victory lane the next year represented by Bob Senneker. Gary Balough became the first two-time winner in 1986 and the Volunteer State’s own Jeff Purvis did the home crowd proud dominating the early 1990’s to become the only three-time winner of the All American 400. Hall Of Famers Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip beat the best short track racing had to offer to solidify their legendary status. To show just how tough the All American 400 is, think about this, only nine other men were strong enough to win the traditional 400 lap version of the All American.
In 2012, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models and the Fairgrounds Speedway have upped the ante even more. After over a decade, the All American will not only be 400 laps again, but 400 green laps. As has become a tradition with PASS, fans will get to see the ultimate race complete with speed, endurance, strategy, and only the toughest of drivers. An opportunity home state favorite and two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin just could not pass up.
“The 400 was Nashville’s trademark for years and years,” said Marlin. “It’s great PASS has brought the race back to what it was with good people, good quality cars, and I’d love nothing better than to win the All American 400 at a place that’s pretty special to me.”
Marlin grew up watching legends duel against one another at the Fairgrounds, including his dad, Coo Coo. Memories of races past influenced Marlin’s decision to not only race in the All American 400, but race in the 125 lap Pro Late Model race set to roll earlier in the day. He shrugs at those that think 400 green flag laps is too much for man and machine to complete.
“I saw Harry Gant race a Late Model Sportsman and then run the Marty Robbins 420 at Nashville all in the same day (over 700 laps) and then get in his truck and drive it home,” said Marlin laughing. “We’ve got two real competitive cars that we’re fine tuning and we’re gonna see what we can put on ‘em. If Harry can do it, I’m gonna give it the old college try too.”
For Northwest stand out Garrett Evans, a veteran of three All American 400s, the race is not the only endurance challenge. Evans is traveling over 40 hours from Washington state to join the other ironmen of short track racing in the 400 green flag lap test.
“I think it’s the same for everybody and we’re prepared,” said Evans while traveling to Nashville. “The idea is for the teams that don’t have professional pit crews to be able to change tires without losing a lap. The fans will get to see a lot of racing for sure and they deserve it. We’re really excited, we’ve got a lot of great competition from all over the United States and we can’t wait to get going.”
For PASS and Super Late Model racing’s marquee drivers competing at Nashville, it is all about the fans. For over a decade they have yearned to see the All American return to a true 400 lapper and take its rightful place once again as the premier short track event in the country. For PASS South veteran Jay Fogleman, it will be his first chance to compete in the epic race.
“From the time Tom [Mayberry] announced that this was going to be a PASS race, I’ve been ready to go,” said Fogleman, who has raced in shorter Late Model Stock races at Nashville. “It’s one of those races that’s on my bucket list. I’ve raced at Martinsville and Wilkesboro and the All American 400 and the Oxford 250 are the last two I want to get to do.”
Fogleman thinks the 400 will be a complete challenge for every aspect of a race team from equipment, to team, to driver. An event fans will enjoy watching play out.
“It’s gonna be the hardest race of the year to win no matter where you come from,” added Fogleman. “It’s by far the longest Super Late Model race and it will definitely bring a lot of different strategies into play and I like that. In a shorter race, a guy can get out front, never change tires and win. Nashville’s a place you can use a lot of horsepower, but I’m going to say that the fastest car is probably not going to win.”
What were months are now hours. The late Bob Harmon’s original vision from over 30 years ago will again come to life as the sound of shear, unadulterated horsepower echoes through the Fairgrounds Speedway’s hallowed covered grandstand. Like Harmon, PASS President Tom Mayberry’s modern day vision for short track racing will bring the “best of the best” from North, South, East, and West to Nashville in one of motorsport’s ultimate challenges. And, just as it was 30 years ago, it’s about one thing…the fans.
On track activities kick off on Thursday, October 4th at 8:30 AM with PASS South Super Late Model practice for the 28th All American 400 and will be followed by championship racing on the quarter mile later that evening. On Friday, October 5th, PASS South Super Late Models and Hunter’s Sand & Gravel Pro Late Models will practice in the morning and qualify at 5:30 PM. The O’Reilly Sportsmans, SEC Limited Late Models, and Open Wheel Modifieds will have championship racing slated to begin at 8 PM. On Saturday, October 6th, grandstand gates open at 11:30 AM, with Last Chance Races for the PASS South Super Late Models at 1 PM, a 125 lap championship race for the Hunter’s Sand & Gravel Pro Late Models at 2:30 PM, and the green flag for the 28th All American 400 at 6 PM.
All Nashville competitors please note that mufflers are MANDATORY at the Fairgrounds Speedway. It is recommended that you use either Brzezinski or Howe mufflers without modifications. The track is in the process of renewing their lease and the noise restrictions are strictly enforced. If your car does not meet the requirements, you will be required to make changes in order to compete. If you have any questions regarding these requirements you may contact either PASS (Scott Reed at 207-625-3230 or scottreedpass @yahoo.com) or Fairgrounds Speedway. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Tickets can for the 28th All American 400 are available and can be purchased at ProAllStarsSeries.com or AllAmerican400.com.
PASS Racing PR