Special from Speed51.com – One year ago, Casey Roderick played a major role in the finish to the All American 400. However, it wasn’t the role he wanted to play as a lapped car. On Sunday afternoon, Roderick got his redemption and claimed the Super Late Model crown jewel victory at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Roderick took advantage when race dominator Derek Thorn went hard into the turn one wall after contact with Carson Hocevar while battling for the lead on Lap 205. Roderick drove around the outside of Chandler Smith with 24 laps remaining and pulled away from there to score a victory that had eluded him in recent years.
“I can’t believe it. We’re All American 400 winners,” Roderick said. “It’s been a long time coming ever since I drove for the Grahams back in 2014-2015. I’ve had a lot of good cars and just couldn’t pull it off. Finally everything lined up right and we made all the right call. I just love this place. Nashville is awesome, and man I just can’t believe it.
“I’m going to enjoy this one because it’s been a hell of a long time.”
For the first half of the 300-lap race, it appeared as though Thorn was going to be untouchable. After taking the lead on the second lap of the race, the California native dominated until the Lap 204 restart when things took a dramatic turn for the worse.
Battling with NASCAR Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar on the restart, the two drivers made contact at the start/finish line. The contact ended with Thorn going hard into the outside wall in turn one and both drivers being eliminated from the race.
“I’ll have to go back and look at the video. It felt like he just hooked us into the fence, but without looking at the video it’s hard to say,” Thorn said. “The thing was unbelievably fast. It was the best car I’ve ever had, especially here. It was our race to lose. I don’t know what the 14 did or how all that unfolded. It’s just unfortunate because we had a rocket tonight.”
“The dude just came up in front of me,” Hocevar said. ” He did it three restarts ago. It just sucks. I thought we had a shot and I wasn’t going to lift. I said on the radio that I wasn’t going to lift for him if he does it again and he’s going to end up in the turn one wall. That’s exactly what happened.”
While Roderick was a contender throughout the race, it wasn’t until a small shock adjustment during a mid-race pit stop that his No. 25 Super Late Model came to life.
“That pit stop the whole car changed,” Roderick said. “I knew I had to do something because no matter what we did to the car I was just free, free, free under throttle. It’s amazing what just a little tweak will do and we pulled it off.”
Chandler Smith briefly stole the lead away from Roderick on a restart with 27 laps to go, but Roderick battled back on the outside to reclaim the lead three laps later.
“What an incredible race. That was exciting,” Roderick said. “I made a mistake on that restart. I got into turn one a little too hard and got loose and allowed Chandler to get by me. But that was good hard racing at the end.”
Smith, who felt as though he lost last year’s All American 400 when the lapped car of Roderick raced the leaders hard, was once again dejected after a runner-up finish.
“You could clearly see he drove by me on the outside,” Smith said. “If I added too much wheel to it, I’d just slow down way too much. Hats off to his guys. I’ll be completely honest, I’m pretty bummed out of all the people in the field I got beat by him considering what happened last year. He’s been working hard on that piece and working hard to get better, so I have respect for him for that.”
Despite not being a factor for much of the day, Stephen Nasse remained patient and raced his way to a third-place finish, clinching the Southern Super Series championship in the process. Former All American 400 winner Donnie Wilson and Midwest Tour standout Austin Nason completed the top five.
A full replay of Sunday’s 36th All American 400 broadcast will be available soon on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Kyler Hope
36th All American 400 Unofficial Results
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (TN) – November 1, 2020
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