A dramatic last lap involving a pair of contenders and a lapped car decided the winner of the 35th All American 400 Sunday evening at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN). At the end of the night, it was local driver Mason Mingus scoring a surprise victory while a pair of contenders exited their cars upset.
Chandler Smith made a late charge to Mingus’ bumper in the final five laps with Casey Roderick, who was three laps down, in tow. Roderick continued to race hard with the two leaders during the final laps, ultimately effecting the result after impeding runs from Smith in the final two laps.
Smith ran after Roderick’s No. 22 on pit road after the race before being held back by the Kyle Busch Motorsports crew. He expressed his frustration with his fellow Georgia driver after the race.
“It’s frustrating when you have a car two laps down, two laps left dive-bombing me when we’re racing for the win and completely ruining our night,” Smith stated. “We could’ve been where the five car (Mingus) is at right now if he wouldn’t have pulled that bad move, so we’re in second place. I just figured drivers would have more respect than that, but I guess not.”
Roderick looked to have the car to beat before running out of fuel during a green flag run just shy of halfway, falling four laps down in the process. He was able to regain two laps back by the end of the race after beating the leaders to the line on the final lap.
“I worked hard at the end to get my laps back. A lot of people probably look at it a different way than I did but my sponsors on the race car and I don’t want to be a quitter,” Roderick explained. “Just trying too hard at the end to make something happen. I just wanted to prove to everyone I could win the race and I had a race-winning car. We just came up short.
“I’m really frustrated, especially with the kind of race car we had today,” he added. “I felt like we had a dominant race car. We just don’t have the trophy to prove it now. We’ll keep fighting.”
While Smith and Roderick were left disappointed, Mingus held the trophy guitar high in celebration of his biggest victory yet after receiving a call from Richie Wauters to compete in the All American 400 on Thursday. Just three days later, he was celebrating his first-career Super Late Model win at his home track of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville after winning the All American 400.
The driver from nearby Brentwood, Tennessee survived the battle of attrition over the three-hour marathon, capitalizing on a restart with 25 laps to go and leading the rest of the way for the popular win.”
“I haven’t won a guitar here since I won one on the quarter-mile in like 2010 or something,” Mingus told Speed51. “I wasn’t even supposed to be in the car until Thursday, their (Richie Wauters Motorsports) driver (Dalton Armstrong) broke his ankle and I jumped on the opportunity to come here and race.”
Mingus started the race in 18th and remained mostly out of contention for the first three-quarters of the race, capitalizing on the attrition level to work his way to the front late. He credits his pit crew for giving him a shot at the win in the end.
“We definitely fought some battles today. We didn’t have the best car at the start of the day, we worked on it all day,” he said. “We were fighting really free in and I was trying to protect the bottom. They worked on it and we were in position at the end. We drove a smart race tonight, made the right calls on pit road to put us in that position at the end.”
Former All American 400 winner Boris Jurkovic finished third after starting deep in the field, with Brandon Watson and Carson Hocevar rounding out the top five.
A full on-demand replay of Sunday’s pay-per-view broadcast can be viewed by visiting www.speed51.com/allamerican400.
Stay tuned to Speed51.com for highlights, interviews and more from the 35th All American 400 on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51Photos.com / Kyler Hope