The results of both the 39th All American 400 and the inaugural ASA STARS season became secondary due to a massive incident on lap 212 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
The top-10 barreled into Turn 1 and broke traction, sending a majority of the front-running drivers into the outside retaining wall. That included leader Ty Majeski, along with fellow leaders Stephen Nasse, Gio Ruggiero, and more. The incident left the roster furious at race control.
The incident occurred because a stack-up on a lap 211 restart that caused massive damage to Cole Butcher’s car, leaving fluids from the point of impact all the way around the race track. Race control did not respond to the track conditions in time and the leaders slipped as soon as they drove over it.
After Cole Butcher gets into the wall near the second stage break, a major incident for the leaders brings out the caution flag. Both championship contenders are now thrashing to repair their cars on pit road.
— Racing America (@RacingAmerica) November 5, 2023
The lack of reaction to the initial stack-up from race control drew ire from several drivers and crew members.
“That race director should be pulled out of the tower right now, there’s no excuse for this,” Majeski said on the Racing America/ Track TV race broadcast. “All these cars are wrecked because of him, he should be embarrassed.”
While it is mostly common for cautions to be called by the flagman as he sees fit, Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway typically utilizes the race director as the sole individual who can call cautions. The flagman could theoretically wave the flag and trigger the caution lights whenever necessary, but in cases of limited visibility or other situations in which potential hazards are unclear, the flagman will wait for word from the tower.
Scott Menlen served as race director for the All-American 400.
“We had two flag men and three sets of eyes in the tower,” Sargent said. “We are reviewing it now.”
Majeski, who still went on to win the series championship, was not appreciative of the way things were handled.
“Had a fast car plenty capable of winning,” said Majeski. “Yeah, the whole track was oiled down. The whole field made one more whole lap and nothing was called. Oil was noticeably all over the race track. Inexcusable. As a race director, you can not make a mistake like that. If you think there might be fluid, just throw the yellow. I don’t think anyone here would’ve had a problem if they a threw a yellow and there wouldn’t have been any fluid.”
When asked whether or not ASA could do anything to make up for the incident, Majeski added:
“They’re not gonna go and write us all checks for our wrecked race cars, right? An apology would be a nice start. Bittersweet day, but we’ll get this thing fixed up and head to the Snowball.”