Pro Late Models have raced at the legendary Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee six times in 2015. Willie Allen and Cole Williams have teamed up to win every single one of those six races this season. Now one Pro Late Model race remains at the famous half-mile, and it’s the big one. It’s the one every Pro Late Model driver wants to win. The All American 400.
Allen scored four wins out of the six races with Williams taking the checkered flag in the other two races. But neither driver has yet to win the All American 400. They’re hoping that their strength this year will carry over to the big race and turn into a win.
“It’s kind of like when you’re competing at your home basketball court,” Williams told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “You feel like you do better because you know all the things about it. I feel better at Nashville that I can be faster than if I was at Five Flags. I think we’ll be a lot faster than a lot of the cars we’ll run against, but we still have to make sure we’re prepared.”
One would think that being as strong as they have this year would put some extra pressure on them. They’re the ones that will be looked at to carry the torch for the track regulars. They’re the ones that will have to lead the fight against the invaders like Bubba Pollard and Chase Elliott.
“There’s always big names that come in to run the All American,” said Williams. “I feel I have more of an advantage than they do when they come to Nashville. There’s not so much pressure as there would be if I was running Five Flags. It’s a home field advantage for me.”
“I think the pressure is put on us by ourselves,” said Allen. “We have run well there and we want to take the success that we’ve had this year and apply it to the 400. It’s definitely a race that means a lot. It’s a historic race that we’d like to have checked off the list. We’re going to do everything possible that we know how to do.”
This year’s All American 400 will be a bit different than the last few times the two drivers have raced at Nashville. They’ll be a on a Hoosier tire now, and the race has a different format of two 125-lap segments and then a final 50-lap showdown at the end.
But no matter what change is made, Allen doesn’t suspect this year’s race weekend to be any more stressful than what he dealt with last year when he finished second to John Hunter Nemechek.
“Last year was definitely a wild weekend,” Allen explained with a laugh. “We had to start dead last in the last chance race because we were too light after qualifying. That was a big set-back. Hopefully we can start closer to the front this year and then we won’t have to wear our stuff out.”
However, Allen seems to be taking the “whatever happens, happens” approach to this year’s All American 400. He knows that he can win, but he also knows that just about anything can happen throughout the long race.
“The best thing we can do is try to bring the best car possible,” Allen said. “In a long race like that there’s so many things that can happen with luck. Stuff can break, you can get caught up in a wreck or whatever. So we’re just going to bring the best piece that we know how and we’ll see what happen. If we’re fortunate enough to win or have a good run then that will be awesome. If it’s not meant to be then it’s not meant to be.”
For either driver it would be one of the biggest wins of their careers, if not the absolute biggest win.
“It would mean a ton to me,” said Williams. “We’re a small team. Any win to us is really big, but with the prestige of the All American 400 and Nashville kind of being my home track, it would mean a ton to us. It would be like the Daytona 500.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com