Mother Nature Uncooperative in Nashville Super Late Model Race
Date: Oct. 6, 2012
Event: All American 400
Series: Pro All Star Series (PASS)
Location: Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (Tenn.) (.596-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 6th /27th (DNF, completed 205 of 220 laps)
Winner: Ross Kenseth
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) owner-driver Kyle Busch was hopeful that Saturday night's Super Late Model race from Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (Tenn.) would finally provide the victory he's been seeking from the prestigious All American 400 event. Mother Nature, however, had another plan for Busch, who after leading the most laps and was sitting in the lead position during a rain delay, unfortunately met with demise battling the yellow-caution flag rain-delay process. Upon a green-flag restart and with the track under wet conditions still, Busch suffered a left rear flat tire, which sent the No. 51 Dollar General Camry hard into the turn-four wall, ending the team's efforts in the eventual rain-shortened race.
After qualifying in third place, then starting from a sixth-place draw position, the Las Vegas native was en route to a strong run. The team made their first pit road visit at lap six from the sixth position. The veteran driver would later tell his crew, the pit road adjustments were good and he was "saving his stuff" for later in the long race. Busch soon after took the lead on lap 78 of the 400-circuit event. He battled among the top-ten throughout the night, enduring multiple event caution periods, numbering 12 by night's end.
Seeing that rain was approaching the area and likely to visit the famed track, KBM crew chief Bond Suss made a decision to bring Busch down pit road, from third place and late in a caution run, placing the Dollar General driver back in the field for restart. This strategy would provide the team with enough gas, should a rain delay occur, and it did.
On a green-flag restart at lap 168, Busch was in the 15th position, moving to 11th by the completion of the restart lap, then aggressively notching off, sixth place by lap 173, fifth place by lap 175 and third place by lap 180. On lap 191, Busch maneuvered into first place just as infield crews began to feel raindrops. Everyone assumed the event would reach its halfway point, though, and that's where it became dicey for the hopeful No. 51 driver and team.
On lap 195, however, the field was put under yellow-flag conditions, just shy of the halfway point. The PASS series officials would keep the competitors on the race track in an effort to keep the track surface dry. The field ran under yellow-flag conditions for over 80 laps, with many fans and crew members wondering how the event would conclude. With more rain showing on the radar, would PASS series officials call the race as complete, although not having reached the official halfway point, keep the cars driving around the track, using gas, in an effort to 'save the surface,' or miss the window to finalize and lose the track surface all-together?
The series saw one small window of time with less rain, when they felt the race could be continued to reach at least 200 laps. They set the field under yellow-green for five additional laps, allowing the event to accomplish the halfway goal. Then strangely, they asked the teams to continue, placing the field in a full-green effort, although the track was still very wet.
Busch restarted the field at lap 204 in first place, and then upon entry of turn four, hit a slick spot and then the wall, wrecking the No. 51 machine and ending the hopes for an All American 400 victory guitar. Back in the garage, upon final inspection of the car, the team determined that during all those yellow-flag track-drying laps, something had been picked up on the left-rear tire, which caused it to blow, contributing to the turn-four spin.
While the Kyle Busch Motorsports crew began to pack up their equipment, the race event continued for 15 more laps, when on lap 220 the rain poured again and PASS series officials set the field to yellow once more. The race would not resume, due to inclement weather, and Ross Kenseth was awarded the victory.
Busch will appear behind the KBM No. 51 late model wheel again on Sunday, Oct. 14 for the Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, where he hopes to accomplish his second victory at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile."