ALL AMERICAN 400 LEFTOVERS  by Jeremy Troiano
Menard, Stremme, Smith, Carlson, Hole & More

There were lots of fast cars, cars that qualified in on time near the front of the field on Saturday, that failed to finish the race on Sunday.

The first victim was Scott Carlson, who qualified fifth.  He was running solidly in the top five when he got together with Stanley Smith coming off of turn two on lap 21.   The contact, started when Smith appeared to have bounced off the wall at the exit of turn two, sent Carlson spinning and slamming into the inside wall on the backstretch, ending his day.

“We were just trying to log some laps because it was early in the race,” said a disappointed Carlson.  “The 49 (Smith) looked like he was having problems.  He just turned down into me and around we went for the ride.  It is too bad, because we had a pretty good car.”
Smith found himself out a handful of laps later, not before surviving another harmless spin though.

“The radiator is what ultimately put us out of the race,” said Smith.  “Our car was good and we survived a coupe of spins there early.  We couldn’t have done anything else I guess.”

David Hole was the only victim of a multi-car tangle on the backstretch at lap 63 to retire following the incident.

It appeared to start when the #112 of Augie Grill was turned around by the #2 of Ryan Mathews while the two battled for position.  Grill slide to a stop in front of oncoming traffic,
Eddie VanMeter also had a strong run cut short after engine problems ruined his day, and early second-place running Russell Fleeman fell out with damage he received in a later accident. 

All those drivers finished 20th or worse.
“Well, we came off of turn two and there was no where to go,” said Hole, who finished 33rd.  “The track was blocked.  I got on the brakes and I turned left.  My only shot was to go to the inside but another car probably did too and I ran over him. 

“I hate it too because me and Wayne (Willard) had fast cars.  We were good on long runs yesterday too and I hate it because it turned into a race of a couple of long runs there.  We just didn’t make it.”

Eventually, Grill, Schoenfeld and Peltier all fell out with varying problems.
Chris Gabehart (#10) just misses this backstretch accident with Augie Grill (#112).  (51 Photo)
most of which was able o avoid him.  Several cars got together, including Hole, Dennis Schoenfeld, Eddie Hoffman and Preton Peltier, but all were able to pull away with the exception of Hole.

While it was the All American and most people wanted to win the race, the underlying theme was the battle between the North's best (made up mostly of Sunoco Super Series drives) against the South's best (mostly, Southern All Star drivers). 

The 40 car starting field was nearly equal, with 19 Northern and 21 Southern drivers in the field.   The top-five included four Northern guys (Jason Hogan was the lone Southern driver), while the top-10 had an equal number of Northern and Southern drivers (five-five).
out of 20 and collected 10 poles.  In last year's race, Northern guys won the pole (Eddie Hoffman) and race (Brian Hoppe). 

Is the Northern dominance showing up again?  Two straight years, two years the North has swept the pole and race.

Former Southern All American 400 race winners include Butch Lindley (1981), Gary Balough (1984, 1986), Darrell Waltrip (1987), Jeff Purvis (1991, 1992, 1995), Bobby Gill (1994), Wayne Anderson (1996, 1999) and Freddie Query (1997, 1998).

Former Northern All American 400 winners include Bob Senneker (1982), Jim Sauter (1983), Rusty Wallace (1985),  Butch Miller (1988, 1989), Gary St. Amant (1990), Mike Garvey (1993, 2000) and Brian Hoppe (2003).

How did the final points tally fall?   Well, if you gave the winner 40 points, and one point down per position, it finished with the Southern guys scoring 417 points, while the Northern guys scored 407 points, despite having two less drivers in the field. 

The Northern win for Chuck Barnes was the 10th for a Northern driver in the race (including all the All Americans run from 1981 to 2000 and the Patriot 200 in 2003). 

From 1981-2000, the Southern drivers won a remarkable 12
No one probably worked harder than Jeff Lane on Sunday.  The driver came back from one lap down two different times on Sunday to finish as the last driver on the lead lap, in fifth, on Sunday.

“The strategy early went right out the window,” said Lane, who started seventh Sunday.  “We got locked in second gear on an early restart and we lost a lap trying to get the transmission straightened out.  We rode for a wile and got really loose.  We managed to get our lap back, then about 40 or 50 laps later, we went a lap down again and we got it back as well.  We got a top five out of it.  I guess we were ok.”
Jeff Lane had a strong car and worked his way onto the lead lap twice. (51 Photo)
Lane was visibly worn out at the end of the event.

“If everything goes smooth, it probably isn’t as hard as our race turned out to be!  I'm worn the heck out.”


The talk of the track during the middle portion of the race on Sunday, outside of the dominating Wayne Willard, was that of Wisconsin's Nathan Haseleu. 

Haseleu was the deepest starter in the field (18th) to lead a lap on Sunday, when he led nine laps just after half way.  Nine laps doesn't really tell his story either.  Haseleu proved to be a constant top-three threat.
Stanley Smith (#49s) finds himself going the wrong way during one of his two spins. (51)
“I think we would have had a shot at it.  It is disappointing.  But at least we didn’t run bad and have this happen.  It is tough because it is something you really can’t take care of.  They were brand new gears, nothing you can do.  It makes everyone feel better knowing that you had a shot at the thing.”


Eddie Massengill finished 10th at Nashville on Sunday, a great run for the Concord Motorsport Park Big-10 Series regular, especially considering all that happened.
“In the early part, the car was really good on the outside groove,” said the former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor.  “(Ryan) Mathews was good out there too, so we both rode around up there and worked at picking cars off.  The car was good.  We went through some pit stops.   Seems like we  were always running second, third or fourth. 

“Right around lap 170 everyone pitted and we stayed out and got the lead.  Later, we came in and put on rear tires, but the power steering went out and then the gears broke in it. 
Some of those things include losing the collector off the exhaust, losing his brakes, spinning twice and even burning his feet.

“We had a great car,” said Massengill.  “But we had a ton of problems all day long, which you will have in these long races.  About half way, the collector slipped off the header.  It eventually took its toll on everything under the hood, including my feet.  I think we had a top-five car without any problems, but that is just what circumstances give you.
Eddie Massenill (51 Photo)
“I think all in all, it was a great day.  Sure it could have been better, but you just play the hand you were dealt sometimes.”

Massengill should be a true favorite at Concord for the Asphalt World Championships in just two weeks, where he finished second in point this past season, behind Freddie Query.


Chris Gabehart, the 2004 Sunoco Super Series Rookie of the Year, stayed solid on the lead lap all day long at Nashville on Sunday, until the last five laps that was.
Nathan Haseleu (#87n) works his way around Wayne Willard.  (51 Photo)
“We started 29th and had a lot better car than qualified,” said Gabehart, who relied on a provisional to make the race.   “Our plan was to stay out of trouble and just make laps.  There were a time or two where we were close to going a lap down and got a caution.  That is part of racing so we used it to our advantage.  We had a little racing luck.

“On that last restart, we broke a left rear drive plate.  I was spinning the tires under the caution to clean them up getting ready for the restart and it just spun up the drive plate.  After that, I just tried to make it to the finish.”

Despite working all day to stay on the lead lap, Gabehart fell one lap off the pace and out of the top-five.  He finished seventh, one of just two cars a lap down at the end.

“It is heart breaking, but that is part of it.  We are trying to do incredible things with machines, and machines break.  We had about a 5th place car.   (Jeff) Lane was trying to get around me and couldn’t do it.”
- Two ASA Late Model drivers brought their cars to Nashville trying to make the field.  Only Bobby Stremme did.  He was a solid lead lap car before shock problems dropped him out of the running.  He finished 24th.  He did not run the crate motor normally run with the ASA Late Models.  Landon Cassil was the only other ASA Late Model driver who tried to make the field.  He failed to qualify.

- Johnny Brazier came from his 35th starting position to finish two laps down in ninth. Brazier earned a $300 bonus for being the Port City South/Lane Automotive/ISKY Racing Cams Hardcharger Of The Race Award winner.
accident, which also took out Mark Day and Eric Wallace, was the result of a backup after Jeff Lane's car failed to get up to speed.

Chris Gabehart just fell of the lead lap near the end of the day.
(51 Photo)
ASA Late Model Champion Bobby Stremme faired well unti he fell out late.  (51 Photo)
- Ronnie Sanders and Greg Davidson, the only two drivers in the field to race in the first All American 400 back in 1981, both had engine troubles and finished 15th and 19th respectively.
- Charlie Menard was the ARP Stock Car Bodies Performance Award winner, Menard’s name was pulled out in a random draw of all the competitors who made the starting field of the All American 300. Menard will receive new ABC ARP Stock Car Body.

- Only 14 of the 40 cars were left running at the end of the event.  Tim Silba, the last car running at the finish, finished 10 laps down.

- Last year's Snowball Derby Champion Charlie Bradberry was seen walking the pits, but was not competing.

- World Cup 300 winner Larry Raines finished 37th after being involved in an accident in turn two on lap 10.  The
Charlie Menard got a new body from ARP... thankfully since he wrecked his.  (51 Photo)