Super Late Model competitors from all over the country descended upon the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. for one of the crown jewel short track races for pavement-based cars. The 35th annual running of the All-American 400 played out on the historic track’s worn surface during a cool afternoon and early evening on Sunday. Mason Mingus would eventually come away from “Music City” with a guitar trophy and a $22,000 payday.
Cole Butcher earned the pole position for the main event by turning a lap in 18.101 seconds around the .596 mile speedway. That effort beat out Derek Thorne, Casey Roderick, Josh Brock, Stephen Nasse, Dennis Prunty, Travis Braden, Bubba Pollard, Michael House, Donnie Wilson, Ty Majeski and Willie Allen.
After Derek Thorne got out to the early lead, pole sitter Cole Butcher and fast moving Stephen Nasse tangled on the backstretch while racing for second on lap 14. Butcher went hard into the outside wall while Nasse was able to continue on with little damage.
Soon after, Nasse assumed the lead of the crown jewel race on lap 27 when he passed by Thorne. From that point it looked as if the No. 51 car might re-enact its performance in the recent Winchester 400 where Nasse completely dominated on that Indiana track to earn the win.
Nasse was pursued by another very hot driver when Ty Majeski emerged as the second place runner. But Majeski’s day ended early when a plume of smoke from behind the car as he pulled off the track and into the pit area on lap 103.
While Nasse continued to lead, Roderick moved to second with Chandler Smith pulling his Kyle Busch Motorsports car into third.
Roderick would take his turn at dominating the event on lap 188 when he passed by Nasse for the lead. The No. 22 looked like it could be on its way to victory until lap 254 when Roderick steered the car into the pit area as it ran out of fuel. That stop cost Roderick three laps as Nasse return to the race lead.
But on lap 284 it would be Smith who looked like the race was his to win as he took the top spot on the scoreboard. The No. 51 then began to pull away from the pack as Mingus began to rise. The eventual winner would take second from Nasse on lap 296.
A series of late caution flags set up what appeared to be a shootout between Smith and Nasse for the race win. Smith led much of the way over the final 100 laps with Nasse constantly taking shots under him in an attempt to retake the lead. However, Smith was up to the challenge and he eventually pulled away to a lead of several car lengths.
But a lap 370 restart would prove to be the determining moment of the race. Nasse briefly took the lead away from Smith but as the two cars roared onto the backstretch the racing room ran out and Nasse was turned head on into the outside wall.
The lap 381 restart following that incident proved to the break Mingus needed as he bolted to the lead. Smith moved around Boris Juckovic to take second but then found himself racing with Roderick who was two laps in arrears at the time.
Mingus sailed under the checkered flag to gain the prestigious win.
All-American 400 Finish: 1. Mason Mingus, 2. Chandler Smith, 3. Boris Juckovic, 4. Brandon Watson, 5. Carson Hocevar, 6. Dennis Prunty, 7. Casey Roderick, 8. Kyle Neveau, 9. Johnny Brazier, 10. Dalton Zehr, 11. Stephen Nasse, 12. Donnie Wilson, 13. Austin Nason, 14. Greg Van Alst, 15. Eddie MacDonald, 16. Willie Allen, 17. Derek Thorne, 18. Michael House, 19. Albert Francis, 20. Cole Williams, 21. Bubba Pollard, 22. Ty Majeski, 23. Michael Simko, 24. John DeAngelis, Jr., 25. Josh Brock, 26. Travis Braden, 27. Jonathan Eilen
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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