Over the last decade the super late models have been a part of the All American 400 weekend at the historic Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee during the years the event was run, but this year will be the first time since 2000 that they go back to the originally intended distance. Thanks to the Pro All Stars Series, the race has returned to 400 laps and back to the crown jewel it once was, attracting drivers from all across the nation and Canada.
In its heyday during the 1980s the Southeast based All Pro Super Series, Midwest based American Speed Association and New England and Canada based American Canadian Tour coordinated and converged at the fast .596 mile banked track for an all-star caliber event each year. In 2012 the Pro All Stars Series will have representatives from throughout the Southeast and New England, and the series has also worked with series and other high profile events out west to attract drivers to the track for a $22,000 winner's purse with additional money up for grabs for leading laps. Some drivers that do not regularly compete with PASS are expected to invade as well. This could potentially be the most diverse All American 400 yet.
- From 1981-2000 over 275 drivers completed over 229,000 laps, in which 68 of them led at least one lap. There were 16 different pole winners and 13 different race winners.
- It is very likely that there will be a new winner in this year's race as only one former All American 400 champion is currently entered: Mike Garvey. In fact, Garvey was the last winner of the 400 lap event in 2000 and also won in 1993. He looks to become the only three time winner. Garvey also holds an ASA victory from 1998 and his car owner Tracy Goodson has competed at Nashville in the past both as a driver and an owner.
- It is also very likely that there will be some new faces for the fans to watch in this year's race. Only seven drivers with prior starts in the 400 lap version of the race that was run for twenty years are currently entered.
- Of those seven drivers, several years of experience have been accumulated. Most notably to the local fans will be Mark Day who has qualified for nine All American 400 races, a few NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series races, and five other All American weekend super late model starts since then, not to mention his numerous starts, wins and track championships in the track's local divisions. Despite this, Day has never finished in the top ten in an All American 400.
- Two-time Daytona 500 champion Sterling Marlin will be another local favorite. He is the only driver entered that started in the very first All American 400 in 1981. Marlin only has one previous PASS South start, a 43rd place finish after receiving a promoter's option provisional for The Race at North Wilkesboro in 2011. Nevertheless, veteran should be a contender at his home track.
- A couple veteran drivers with previous starts will be playing the role of dark horse in this year's field, provided that they qualify. Pensacola, Florida's Scott Carlson led several laps in 2000 and has since been a top contender with many top ten finishes. Randy Gentry from Easley, South Carolina has had some consistent finishes as well.
- Geographically, this year's running may not have as strong of a presence from the Midwest in the past due to the Oktoberfest event in LaCrosse, Wisconsin taking place during the same weekend. However, the representatives that will be competing from that region will certainly be a force to reckon with. Illinois driver Eddie Hoffman has two former AA400 starts and has four wins at the track since those starts. Michigan's John VanDoorn is currently the CRA Super Series point leader and is also a former winner at Nashville, taking home the pole award and victory in the 2007 running that had a 300 lap distance.
- The Northwest has two legendary drivers from that region making the long trip. Garrett Evans has done so three times before, finishing sixth in his last start in 1998. Gary Lewis has never been to Nashville, but is a proven winner wherever he travels. These two drivers combined for 80 wins and six championships in the former NASCAR Northwest Tour, and have continued their winning ways since the last season in 2006.
- Not many Pro All Stars Series regulars have much of a driving history at Nashville, but a few of there famous fathers do. South Series point leader Kyle Grissom has made a UARA series start at the track before, but it was his father Steve that competed in the 400 lap race before finishing ninth back in 1987. Ross Kenseth finished third in the 200 lap race in 2010, but his father and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt was the runner-up in the 1996 running. Multi-time PASS champion Ben Rowe's father Mike finished 11th in the 1987 edition.
- Other top drivers from PASS south with prior Nashville experience include Preston Peltier who has a few late model starts and Brandon Ward who finished third in a modified back in 2007.
- Drivers from the north have little to no experience at the track, but certainly have the know how to learn quickly. Notables traveling south include current PASS North point leader Cassius Clark, former champion Johnny Clark, second generation driver D.J. Shaw and the most recent PASS North winner Derek Ramstrom.
- Three drivers have won back-to-back All American 400's in the past. While none of them will be driving this year, two of them will be playing a major role. 1988 and 1989 winner Butch Miller will assist and crew chief for Ross Kenseth. 1997 and 1998 winner Freddie Query will coach Kyle Benjamin, who looks to become the youngest All American 400 winner of all time. Even former winning crew chief Alex Query will be turning the wrenches for teenager Spencer Davis.
- The latest three entrants for the race have composed quite the racing resume. Defending All American 400 weekend super late model winner T.J. Reaid from Acworth, Georgia is now officially entered. He won the 200 lapper in 2010 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. 2006 200 lap winner Boris Jurkovic from Manhattan, Illinois is back and has a 400 lap win last year at Winchester Speedway in Indiana. Boris also has some past relation to KBM, as he has purchased some of their equipment and drove for them in last year's Snowball Derby. Speaking of Kyle Busch, he is quite possibly the biggest surprise to enter this storied event. Kyle will make the trip over from Talladega throughout the weekend and compete for his first All American 400 victory, one of the few major late model events he has yet to win. Busch will have support from one of his NASCAR sponsors Dollar General for this race.
- Some other drivers to look out for with a vast amount of track experience and have won in a late model there include Willie Allen, Clay Alexander and Dillon Oliver. Don't be surprised to see some of these competitors pull double duty and contend for the win in the supporting 125 lap pro late model race the same day.
There are more than a few additional drivers worth mentioning, but to find out who they are and see them in action attendance at the 2012 All American 400 will be necessary. The racing kicks off on Thursday night with local divisions competing on the 1/4 mile track. AA400 qualifying and support divisions take place on Friday, and the AA400 last chance race, pro late model race featuring many local heroes and the 400 lap main event will finish things off on Saturday. Hopefully the track will be packed and without a doubt give the surrounding community a reason to preserve this legendary facility for years to come.
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