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Southern Super Series

All-American 400 Becomes Pro Late Race, Splits From SSS

airgrounds Speedway Nashville promoter Tony Formosa dropped a bombshell of an announcement at his track on Saturday night, announcing that the legendary All-American 400 will now become a Pro Late Model race instead of a showcase for Super Late Models.

He first made the announcement during the drivers meeting on Saturday afternoon and again to the fans over the track microphone during the intermission period of the event. The decision effectively ends Nashville’s relationship with the Southern Super Series, a second-year sanctioning body which used the All-American as a season finale.

The decision was confirmed by various Southern Super Series officials on Sunday night, including tour director Dan Spence.

“To be honest, this didn’t catch us completely by surprise,” Spence told Short Track Scene on Sunday night. “We’d rather Tony not do this for several reasons but this is his deal so he can do what he wants. Now that we know, we’ll step back and come up with something.”

Spence added that Southern Super Series officials will meet on Tuesday to decide a course of action for the season finale as well as the 2015 schedule and “hope to move forward and not look backwards.”

Short Track Scene reached out to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville officials several times on Sunday and Monday without receiving an official statement. Southern Super Series spokesman and co-founder Tim Bryant also confirmed the report via text message.

“I’m very disappointed with the decision at Nashville,” Bryant said. “The Southern Super Series will be weighing options this week about a possible replacement event. Saying that, (the All-American) should be a good Pro Late Model race.”

Formosa has been said to have been very unhappy with the power structure within the Southern Super Series and nearly pulled the plug on the April event at the event. Donnie Wilson won that race and the SSS championship contender told Short Track Scene that he was in a state of shock.

“I’m still having a hard time believing it,” Wilson said. “The past two All-American 400s, they had full fields they would have again this year. I don’t understand how you plan to have a race then change it especially when it is the last race of the year on the schedule.”

It’s worth noting that Formosa does not have a recent history of forging long relationships with sanctioning bodies for FSN’s signature event. The All-American 400 was a Pro All Star Series (PASS) event in 2012, a disaster of a race marred by rain and puzzling race control decisions while the CRA Super Series and Southern Super Series’ banners flew for the race last November.

The 2013 All-American 400 was an overwhelming success from the outside, a race won by Chase Elliott that also crowned Daniel Hemric the inaugural Southern Super Series champion by a single point over Bubba Pollard. It was the lone recent bright spot for a race that has been diminished greatly over the past decade due to the politics of short track racing a trend that seems to have continued in 2014.

Spence wishes the race could remain a part of the Southern Super Series since it is one of the four crown jewels of Super Late Model racing but admits that the time has come to look for an alternative.

“You don’t want to lose what is a signature event and has been for some time,” Spence said. “This is obviously not what we wanted so we have to come up with a plan. Since we were in Gresham over the weekend, we caught his announcement second hand.

“We suspected he was going to do this for quite some time but we didn’t know exactly when. So now that we do know we’re going to move forward.”

The next scheduled Southern Super Series event is a Gulf Coast doubleheader on July 25 and 26 at Five Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway. Without Nashville on the schedule, the final event is currently set for Mobile on September 20 barring an addition to the pre-existing schedule.

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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