The talk of the short track racing world today revolves around the finish of Sunday’s All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN), where a lapped car’s involvement in the race for the win perhaps decided the outcome of the race. While local favorite Mason Mingus took the dramatic upset win, other storylines helped make up the 35th edition of the crown jewel.
Former Winner Charges Through the Field for Third Place Finish
Boris Jurkovic started all the way back in 27th after only receiving one lap in qualifying on Saturday. He responded by surviving the mayhem that ensued to take the final spot on the podium after 400 grueling laps, making others ask themselves, “Where did he come from?”
“I came all the way from the back, that’s where I came from,” Jurkovic told Speed51.com. “The car was great all weekend, we just had a problem in qualifying and had to come up through there. I don’t think I brought big enough bumpers today, it was pretty rough out there.”
He was racing up front with the leaders after the final restart with a chance to add to his 2006 race win.
“It was pretty rough, I think everyone saw it. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun out there, usually guys will give some respect up there racing for the lead but there was no respect given. I feel bad for a couple guys.”
Canadian Scores Another Top Five in Crown Jewel
Brandon Watson last two starts have seen him up front in crown jewel races south of the border. After a fifth-place result in the Winchester 400, the Ontario driver finished fourth on Sunday after making up multiple laps late in the going.
“It definitely was a long one for us, I can’t thank everyone at McCoy Racing Enterprises enough,” Watson said. “We started off a little tight, finding out now we had a right rear tire going down. We made adjustments to loosen it up and we had a long run there in the middle. We didn’t take tires for a while so we went a few laps down. We got lucky in the end, got a few good restarts, were able to get our laps back and have a set of tires for late in the race. We came on late, unfortunately just didn’t have quite enough but we’re happy to be up there.”
Front Row Starters Experience Early Issues
Nova Scotia’s Cole Butcher and California’s Derek Thorn started the All American 400, but both would be out of the race by the halfway point. The trouble started early for Butcher when he was sent into the outside wall on the backstretch after contact with Stephen Nasse, ending his race after just fourteen laps.
“I’m not really sure, my spotter said I was clear out of two and I just went up after getting loose on the bottom of Thorn. I don’t know what Nasse was doing but I’m sure he has a stupid explanation,” Butcher said. “We were a good car, we were just pacing ourselves and we just got caught up in the short end of the straw. We’ll work on it and go to the Derby and put this behind us.”
Meanwhile, Thorn would be a contender early before mechanical issues would sideline him just before the halfway point.
“We’re not sure yet, something in the drivetrain broke,” Thorn said. “Something in the transmission or the rear end smells like oil. I’m proud of these guys for working hard. We had good short run speed and on the long run speed I felt like we were making some gains on it, but unfortunately we won’t be able to work on it anymore.”
Strong Effort for Florida Native Falls Short
It was another dominating performance for Stephen Nasse less than a month after leading all but eight laps in the Winchester 400. He would take the lead from Thorn shortly after the incident between himself and Butcher and would lead more laps than anyone else. However, his race ended prematurely after a wild restart would conclude with him hitting the outside wall on the backstretch after contact from another car with 29 laps to go.
“Chandler (Smith) just got way tight and slid up the racetrack and I tried to fill up the hole. We lost brakes there after that last restart when I got into second there and Chandler started to pull away,” Nasse said. “We went in there and tried to fill the gap, I got tight, Chandler got tight, I know the guys behind me were trying to fill that gap trying to get out front. Somebody ended up turning me. No big deal, just one of those racing deals.”
Despite not earning the result he wanted, his performance over the past month has him excited for the Snowball Derby.
“I do believe we were the best car here. We had that upper A-arm break that first caution, my guys hustled and got it changed. That speaks volumes for the team to get back out there and get up front again. It was a good day, had a damn fast car, it’s just one of them things where it’s racing.”
Two Most Recent AA400 Winners Also Have trouble
2016 and 2017 winners Bubba Pollard and Donnie Wilson were two of the three former All American 400 winners that took part in Sunday’s race, but both had their issues that resulted in premature exits.
Pollard started the day off by winning the Big Machine Vodka Pro Late Model finale, but his run at a sweep would end on lap 119 after a mechanical failure.
“It just broke a water pump belt. It’s really my fault, I should’ve just come on in,” Pollard said. “Pieces of debris fell there in one and I figured they were going to throw a caution and they didn’t. It sucks, I felt like we had a pretty good race car, just probably needed some adjustments there. We were just riding and seeing how the race was going to play out and if we would’ve made one pit stop for an adjustment we would’ve been fine. I felt like we had a car that could possibly contend for a win.”
Meanwhile, Wilson had a up-and-down day that saw him fall a lap down before receiving the free pass during a yellow around halfway. He would work his way back up to fourth by the three-quarter mark before Austin Nason cut a tire and spun on the frontstretch, leaving Wilson and a lapped car with nowhere to go.
“A lapped car just got loose, I think he spun out on purpose honestly. He just lost control and I had nowhere to go, that’s about it,” Wilson stated. “I was running fourth on lap 328, just trying to get to 350 to get that other caution and put another set of tires on and race. I was just biding my time, but not now.”
Wisconsin Ace’s Chase for Win 100 Will Have to Wait
Ty Majeski’s chase for his first crown jewel win started off strong, moving from 11th to second in little time. That would be as far up front as he would get before a mechanical issue would take him out of the All American 400 on lap 117. His next chance at hitting the century mark will now come this Friday night in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race at ISM raceway, followed by the biggest race of them all, the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby.
“Just an oil line came off, oil got in the header and started smoking,” Majeski said. “We were going to have to put oil in the car and we wouldn’t have had enough time to get back out there, so we went laps down and that was the end of our day. Had a great car, one certainly capable of competing for the win, just not our day today.”
We will have highlights, recaps, and more from the 35th All American 400 on the Speed51 Network in the coming days. Click here to subscribe to the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Kyler Hope