ALL AMERICAN 400 WEEKEND RETURNS
Event Will Be Co-Sanctioned By SSS/SAS On Nov. 5-7
One of racing history’s most popular and exciting short track weekends is scheduled to make its return to the city of Nashville, when the “All-American 400 Weekend” is revived November 5-7 at Music City Motorplex. Leading Super Late Model sanctioning bodies CRA/Sunoco Super Series and Southern All-Stars will oversee the officiating and operations of on track activities. The revival will feature Super Late Models in a 300 lap event on Sunday afternoon, with 100 laps for Late Model Stocks on Saturday night.
The “All-American 400” was started in 1981 by the late legendary promoter Bob Harmon. He was also the founder of the All-Pro Late Model series. In its original format, and during the most successful time in the event’s history, a standard stock-appearing Late Model was used in competition. These cars were being raced throughout the country, which made it easy for racers from different regions to come together and compete in an All-Star environment. Eventually, Rex Robbins’ ASA group and Tom Curley’s ACT group were added to the organizers list, and together, they built a “must see” year-end event. Philosophical and political changes would bring about the end of the open format, and eventually, the end of the famous event as everyone knew it.
Last year, the first step in reviving that tradition took place when the Sunoco Super Series and Southern All-Stars sanctioned the Patriot 200 in Nashville, during a weekend promoted by ASA. Over 60 cars took part in the event’s “North vs. South” format, and in the end, only six inches separated the leading North driver from the leading South driver. With the entire crowd on their feet, Wisconsin’s Brian Hoppe barely edged Georgia’s Ricky Turner at the line.
A survey of results from practice, qualifying, and the race, found an equal mix of Northern and Southern cars at the top each time. Officials and competitors had proven that the right set of rules could create a level playing field for everyone that wanted to participate.
Years ago, the All American 400 was the biggest short track racing event going.
The Patriot 200 was an overwhelming success, and was also an eye-opener for one very important person. Jack Deery had just started in his role as the new General Manager for the recently renamed Music City Motorplex and was truly impressed with the Patriot 200. Coming in to his new job, Jack knew that a special, season-ending Super Late Model event would be something that he would be considering. After seeing the 2003 Patriot 200, he was excited about it future potential.
“We’re excited to see the ‘All-American 400’ return to
Nashville,” commented Deery about the announcement. “This facility has a great history with this race, and after watching the Patriot 200 last year, we knew we had the formula to bring it back.”
For Southern All-Stars promoter Ben Atkinson, helping to lead the revival of the event has special meaning. “I got the chance to work very close with Bob Harmon through the years, and was a part of a lot of the special things he achieved. Bringing back this event will be like a tribute to one of the legends in our sport and a good friend of mine.”
“It’s pretty simple,” stated Sunoco Super Series director Glenn Luckett. “This event is something that the fans and the racers wanted to see, and we’re happy that we finally worked out the details with the folks in Nashville. Now that we are all on the same page and working together for its success, the sky is the limit.”
The winner of the event will receive a minimum of $10,000. At the same time, officials have worked to keep the costs down to the competitors by limiting tire usage in the 300-lap event to only eight tires.
“Besides a good purse, participants will by vying for the great prestige that goes with winning the event,” commented Sunoco Super Series managing partner, R. J. Scott. “From 1981 to 2000, every winner has been a household name in racing. From the likes of Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip, Bob Senneker and Butch Miller, to the more recent heroes like Gary St. Amant, Freddie Query, Wayne Anderson and Mike Garvey…winning this event has always meant you beat the best. That is the environment that we are putting back together, and with a successful revival in 2004, I’m sure you will see even bigger things for the future of this race.”
While the event is sanctioned by the CRA/Sunoco Super
Series and the Southern All-Stars, it is an open event for all competitors. There is no obligation to compete with either series prior to the event, nor is the event a points-earning race for either series. Officials felt that the “open” format was important to continuing the great heritage of the event. While there will be some provisional spots and bonus monies for teams that run regularly with either series, the bulk of the starting positions are open to any competitor through qualifying and last chance races.
Dick Trickle (#99), Bob Senneker (#84) and Jim Sauter (#5) do battle in the 1983 All American 400 at Nashville.
Brian Hoppe won the Patriot 200 last year at Nashville, a "North vs. South" race co-sanctioned by the SSS and SAS.