If the 31st Annual All American 400 wasn’t postponed by two weeks because of rain on the original scheduled weekend, Daniel Hemric wouldn’t even have been in the race. But, as a result of the rain, Hemric not only got to race in the All American 400, he won the All American 400.
The Kannapolis, North Carolina driver decided on Monday that he wanted to head to Tennessee’s Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in his Pro Late Model to try to win the All American 400.
So, with a makeshift crew of fellow Late Model driver Jeff Fultz, Hemric’s fiancee and fellow race car driver Kenzie Ruston, and a couple other people, Hemric made the trip to Nashville. And by races end, he was the winner of the prestigious event.
“This is pretty surreal,” Hemric told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race. “We decided to do this deal on Monday and Jeff Fultz and LFR Chassis lent us some equipment to try to do it. It’s a cool deal. Any time I get the chance to come run the Fairgrounds I take the chance to do it. To be standing here is really cool.”
Hemric had to work his way through the field from the 10th starting position to get to the front. He eventually made his way into the top five, but was late coming off pit road during the first competition caution and was penalized about five positions. Hemric had to borrow fuel cans from the Richie Wauters team (his Super Late Model team owner), which was the cause for his slow stop.
That didn’t slow down Hemric too much, as he methodically worked his way back through the field while Cole Rouse dominated at the top of the heap.
Rouse had the strongest car for much of the race, but Hemric, Bubba Pollard and Cole Williams eventually worked their way by Rouse on a restart with under 80 laps remaining.
Hemric led from that restart until the very end, with a couple restarts thrown in the middle that saw him have to fight off the likes of Pollard.
“Bubba is the best short track racer there is,” said Hemric. “To have a guy like that pressuring you, you’ve got to be on it and hit your marks and not make mistakes. We were both qualifying over those last 50 laps. I was happy to see that once we got clean air I was able to maintain our gap. But I definitely did not want to see another caution because he always seems to find something else late in these races.”
In a race full of cautions, crashed race cars and angry drivers, Hemric somehow got his wish of no more cautions. The final yellow flag waved at lap 250 for the second scheduled competition caution. After the green flag waved to restart the race, Hemric drove off into the Tennessee sunset to take the victory.
“This is just such a cool victory and such a cool race to be a part of,” Hemric said. “I have to thank Tony Formosa for keeping this track open and promoting this race. As a racer I’m very thankful of that.”
Pollard, defending winner John Hunter Nemechek, Chad Finley and Rouse completed the top five.
The 300-lap race was slowed on 11 occasions, 10 for crashes and one competition caution. There was supposed to be two competition cautions, but Justin South crashed hard on the frontstretch just before the first scheduled caution was to take place.
Only 13 of the 36 cars finished the race as attrition took its toll on much of the field. Drivers such as Dominique Van Weiringen, Dalton Sargeant, pole-sitter Willie Allen and South all crashed hard. Derek Scott Jr. was involved in a few different incidents as well.
Speed51.com will have much more, including highlights, from the 31st Annual All American 400 soon on the 51 Network.
For an on-demand replay of today’s Trackside Now coverage presented by AR Bodies, click here: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-all-american-400-race-day-at-nashville/
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
31st Annual All American 400
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee
|3||8N||John Hunter Nemechek|
|16||01||Derek Scott Jr|