Cole Butcher showed his speed on Friday was no fluke by putting the Wilson Motorsports No. 53 on the pole for Sunday’s 35th All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. The Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia driver recorded a blistering lap of 18.101 seconds to sweep the Saturday portion of All American 400 race weekend.
Butcher’s fast time led the way for Wilson Motorsports, who also saw top-10 qualifying runs from teammates Casey Roderick and Donnie Wilson. The speed shown by everyone including himself has him excited going into Sunday’s race.
“It’s been a good week, we unloaded good yesterday afternoon with a car that was consistent, short run and long run,” Butcher told Speed51.com. “I’m glad to get the pole and for all Wilson Motorsports cars to get in the top ten.”
He was admittedly unsure of how the weekend would go with Wilson’s switch to Rowdy Manufacturing cars since last year’s Snowball Derby. However, the speed he’s had all weekend have put those nerves to rest over the course of the weekend.
“I was a little nervous, I didn’t know what to expect with this Rowdy car,” he said. “All in all everything’s going good. Everybody’s doing a good job at Rowdy Manufacturing and Wilson Motorsports. Troy, my crew chief, has been busting his ass all day. Hopefully tomorrow brings good things, we’re having fun at least.”
It’s the second year in a row Butcher has been on the front row of the All American 400 after he qualified second prior to last year’s race being canceled due to rain. He joked about the name of the race that bears the country’s name.
“We may have to change it to the Canadian-American 400 or something silly, but we’ll tell our tale tomorrow if that’s the case. The pole’s great but we’ve got work to do tomorrow.”
California’s Derek Thorn made up for a sour day by posting the second-fastest lap in qualifying. The two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion’s weekend in the Pro Late Model ended with an incident during practice, but he made up for it with an outside front-row showing in Super Late Model qualifying.
“Considering how the day went earlier today with the Pro Late, I’m happy to have some speed in the Super,” Thorn stated. “The nice thing about the 400-lappers is you get three pit stops to try to make it better. We’ll fire off and take it one lap at a time and hopefully we can figure it out.”
In three prior attempts in the All American 400, Thorn has finished second twice, including in his last appearance in 2016 to Bubba Pollard. He looks to finish one spot better on Sunday afternoon.
“Races like this, you need a fast car but attrition plays a big part of it, so it’s just about being around at the end and making smart calls and being smart behind the wheel.”
Josh Brock narrowly missed out on a second-consecutive ARCA/CRA Super Series championship three weeks ago at Winchester Speedway, now he will roll off from fourth on Sunday. The Corbin, Kentucky driver comes in as one of the favorites after winning May’s North/South Super Late Model Challenge in dominating fashion.
“We really didn’t get a chance to do a lot of mock up qualifying runs in practice due to a few issues, but this car is way better than it was in the spring,” Brock said. “We dominated and led all hundred laps and won. We didn’t get the pole that we wanted but I think they’re going to have one hell of a fight tomorrow for 400-laps. It’s a long race but it’ll be really good.”
One surprise deep in the field was 2006 All American 400 winner Boris Jurkovic. The six-time Berlin Raceway winner in 2019 was only given one lap in qualifying after failing pre-qualifying tech for not having enough air pressure in his tires, qualifying just 27th out of 29 cars who took time. Despite starting from deep in the field, he still believes he has a shot to win.
“I think we’re going to have a top-five car tomorrow for sure,” Jurkovic said. “If everything falls in line and we have some luck, I think we would have a shot. We were competitive, we just had a little problem there in qualifying and that’s just how it goes here.”
Fans unable to make it to Nashville can watch Sunday’s All American 400 and Big Machine Vodka Pro Late Model finale can watch a live PPV broadcast on Speed51.com. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket for Sunday’s race: speed51.com/allamerican400.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com