One of America’s most historic races is set to take place this weekend at one of America’s most historic race tracks. The green flag will wave over the All-American 400 on Sunday afternoon(November 1st) not far from the State Capitol of Tennessee at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. It will be the 36th running for one of pavement short track racing’s crown jewel events.
Indeed, this is an event and a venue steeped in history. Some of stock car racing’s most recognizable names have competed and won on this .596-mile paved oval. The likes of NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, and Benny Parsons have graced the track’s victory lane following one of the 42 NASCAR Cup Series races held here.
Apart from the NASCAR stars who have triumphed here, some of the most noteworthy figures in short track racing history have captured the checkered flag in the All-American 400. Butch Lindley was the first to win the now legendary event in 1981. He was then followed by all-time greats such as Rusty Wallace, Gary Balough, Jeff Purvis, Butch Miller and Bob Senneker, just to name a few. In more recent times, modern-day warriors Bubba Pollard, Chase Elliott, John Hunter Nemechek, and Daniel Hemric have added their names to the list of champions.
What driver wouldn’t want to be counted among that very impressive list of former champions?
And legendary figures from other arenas have also competed at this historic facility. Located not far from the Grand Ole Opry, country music star Marty Robbins used to spend his Saturday nights doing battle at Fairgrounds Speedway.
Taking place on one of the country’s most historic of race tracks adds to the mystique of the All-American 400. The worn track surface will test drivers and machines from beginning to end as the race transitions from daylight to darkness. And more, the covered grandstand gives the place the old-fashioned feel of a traditional fairgrounds locale.
The 2019 version of the race provided a plot twists and turns that ended with somewhat of a surprise winner. Local driver Mason Mingus of Brentwood, Tenn. started the crown jewel event from 18th and survived the numerous twists and turns involved in a 400-lap race to finish first after taking the lead on lap 372 then holding off Chandler Smith, who spent much of the late going fighting for track position with the lapped machine of Casey Roderick.
This year, a stellar field that includes Winchester 400 and Redbud 400 winner Carson Hocevar along with Bubba Pollard, Stephen Nasse, Donnie Wilson, Chandler Smith, and Matt Craig will test themselves and each other for a chance to add a crown jewel to their lists of accomplishments.
Sunday’s racing action will also feature a 100-lap Pro Late Model feature that will serve as a warmup for the main event.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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