The All American 400 is one of the most prestigious races in all of short track racing, going back to 1981 when the event was first run at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Today, we look at the first of a two-part series on the history of the All American 400.

Part No. 1 – ASA/All Pro at the All American 400

ASA President Rex Robbins and All Pro President Bob Harmon met to discuss a possible event to pit the best short track racers in the north and the best racers in the South in one marquee race.  It was settled that the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway would be the perfect location for a North vs South race, and the All American 400 was born.

A stout field of 40 cars made the call for the inaugural race on November 1, 1981, with Mark Martin and Bob Senneker leading the field to green.  It was the All Pro Series taking the first All American 400, with Butch Lindley leading 207 laps and taking the win for the Southerners over Martin and Dick Trickle.  While the driver represented the south, the car represented the north – it was owned by Indiana’s Ray Dillon, who built cars for Martin in his early racing days.

The Northerners didn’t take the defeat too lightly in 1982, as ASA stars took eight of the top ten finishing positions in the second running of the All American 400.  Three drivers led over 100 laps led by Bob Senneker, who took the win that day over Butch Miller and Freddy Fryar.  80 cars made the trip to Nashville that year, with the DNQ list featuring that year’s NASCAR Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip.

The battle of North vs South continued into 1983, and so did ASA’s dominance in the event.  Jim Sauter led 229 laps, but needed to pass fellow Wisconsin driver Dick Trickle with five laps to go and held him off in a four-lap shootout to win the All American 400.  Bob Senneker completed an ASA podium sweep.

The All Pro Series returned to the top in 1984, as Gary Balough led 298 of 400 laps from the pole and won his first of two All American 400’s ahead of All Pro’s winningest driver Jody Ridley and Mark Martin.  Keeping up a trend, Rusty Wallace led the most laps and won the 1985 race over Balough, who made up a lap in the final stages of the race.  Not to be outdone, the Florida driver added his second All American 400 win in three years in 1986 ahead of ASA stars Bobby Dotter and Butch Miller while claiming the All Pro championship in the process.

The All Pro Series went away from All American 400 co-sanctioning in 1987, being replaced by the American-Canadian Tour.  With six laps to go, Mark Martin found himself with a comfortable lead, while Darrell Waltrip had seven lapped cars and second-place Robbie Crouch in between him and Martin.  A caution came out, holding the race with five laps to go.  Waltrip pitted for tires and beat Crouch out of pit road to take second, then passed Mark Martin coming to the white flag to steal the win.

The 1988 race saw All Pro return to co-sanction the event with ASA and ACT.  After six previous top-five finishes, Butch Miller won his first All American 400 and clinched the ASA championship in the process.  It was one of the most competitive races in event history, with 16 lead changes among ten drivers during the record two hour, 41 minute race.  ASA swept the podium, with Harold Fair and Scott Hansen finishing second and third.

Miller became the first driver to go back-to-back in the All American 400 in 1989, but it did not come without adversity.  He had his qualifying time disallowed after it was found that his rear spoiler was a half-inch too big.  He drove from the tail to fourth in the 50-lap qualifying race to put himself in the field, then took the lead with five laps to go after Jody Ridley and Bobby Dotter wrecked while racing for the lead.  He held off Glenn Allen Jr. and Scott Hansen for the win.

TNN jumped on as the title sponsor of the 1990 All American 400, as the race was broadcasted on the Nashville-based station.  Gary St.Amant spun on lap 275 and barely managed to stay on the lead lap.  He took the lead just over 30 laps later and held off a furious rally from Ted Musgrave in the final laps to collect the biggest win of his career at the time.

The 1991 All American 400 brought changes to the race, as ASA stepped away from sanctioning the event.  From then until the turn of the millennium, it would be strictly an All Pro Series race.  Not far removed from a career on the dirt that included three World 100 wins at Eldora Speedway, Jeff Purvis won two straight All American 400s in 1991 and 1992.  He took the lead from Jody Ridley with three laps to go to win in ’91, then led 177 laps to win again in ’92 over Bob Senneker and Jason Keller.

A northern invader captured the 1993 All American 400 as Mike Garvey led the final 41 laps of the race to take the win.  He led the most laps that day with 85 to beat out Freddie Query and NASCAR Cup Series regular Ted Musgrave.  Purvis’s attempt at three straight wins was over as soon as it started, crashing out of the race on lap eight after starting on the pole.

Manheim Auctions joined the All American 400 as the title sponsor in 1994 as Bobby Gill beat out Toby Porter and Rich Bickle for the win.  History was made the next year when Jeff Purvis won his third All American 400 in 1995, a record that stands to this day.  In his first All Pro start that year, he led 138 laps and beat Ron Young by just over a tenth at the line.

Purvis came back to Nashville in 1996 and dominated the race, leading 253 laps on the afternoon.  However, he ran out of gas with around 30 to go and lost a lap, ending his chances at a fourth win.  That would give the lead to Florida’s Wayne Anderson, who held off a hard-charging future NASCAR Cup Series champion and Hall of Famer Matt Kenseth for his first-career All Pro win.

While Freddie Query is now the Competition Director for the ASA STARS National Tour, in 1997 he was winning the All American 400.  He led 272 laps from the pole that afternoon, but he didn’t take the lead for the final time until four laps to go, holding off All Pro championship duelists Jeff Fultz and Hal Goodson in the process.  While Fultz finished ahead of Goodson that day, it was Goodson getting the best of the Fury Racecars boss man in that year’s championship by just two points.

The All American 400 picked up a new title sponsor for the 1998 edition – Greased Lightning.  Query became the third driver to go back-to-back in the All American 400, taking the lead from Mike Cope with 17 to go and winning the race over Rick Beebe and Billy Bigley Jr.  The win also helped Query clinch the 1998 NASCAR All Pro Series championship.

The 1999 race also saw the winner clinch the series championship in the process.  Both Ron Young and Freddie Query led over 100 laps in the race, but it would be Wayne Anderson leading the final 78 laps and fending off Young in a green-white-checkered to win his second All American 400 and his first All Pro title.

The All Pro Series returned for a final All American 400 in 2000, with a familiar face returning to victory lane.  Mike Garvey led 152 laps for his second All American 400 win, getting to the checkered flag first ahead of Ron Breese Jr. and Mardy Lindley in another green-white-checkered finish.  Billy Bigley Jr. finished fourth and clinched the series title.

The All American 400 went away for two years before the Champion Racing Association (CRA) brought the Patriot 200 to the newly-named Music City Motorplex in 2003.  We’ll take a look at that in part two of the history of the All American 400.

Sunday’s Curb Records/Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers All American 400 presented by US Tank and Cryogenic Equipment is part of a full weekend of action featuring Super and Pro Late Model practice and 1/4-mile racing action on Friday night; All American 400 qualifying and races for the Vore’s Compact Touring Series, CRA Street Stocks, and JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour on the 5/8-mile Saturday; and culminating with the season-ending ASA STARS National Tour All American 400 on Sunday afternoon.

The ASA STARS National Tour heads to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday, November 5 for the season finale, the All American 400. Special discounted three-day tickets are available here.

The ASA STARS National Tour opened the ten race, six-state schedule at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 11. Gio Ruggiero is the most recent winner, claiming the victory in the Winchester 400 on October 15.

For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).

ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour debuted in March 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced in October 2022, many of the best drivers in America will compete in the ten-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.

The ASA STARS National Tour is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner – the ASA/CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.

The Team Construction Winner’s Circle program has been announced as a part of the ASA STARS National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program provides additional financial incentives to those teams who support the series.

Track Enterprises, a racing promotions company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of Champion Racing Association (CRA) in January 2022 and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series, which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.