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Raphael Lessard is starting to feel comfortable at Kyle Busch Motorsports if Friday was any indication.

The 16-year-old will make just his second start with the NASCAR affiliated team and was fastest on opening day of practice for the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway. The 2016 CARS Tour Super Late Model champion paced the field with a fast lap of 15.190 around the 4/10th-mile speedway in Kinston, Alabama.

“The car was fast,” Lessard said. “We worked on it to get it better each time and My guys at Kyle Busch Motorsport did an awesome job. I just can’t wait to race on Sunday.”

The full field isn’t expected to arrive until Saturday but KBM still has to feel pretty confident with the results of the day.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Corey LaJoie is making a one-off appearance at the Rattler this weekend and finished the day third on the speed charts.

“South Alabama Speedway is a blast and we dialed on older tires all day and still had good speed,” LaJoie said. “We put tires on right at the end didn’t run the time we wanted but we know what we have to do to get there. I’m very happy with it overall.”

READ MORE: Complete Rattler 250 coverage

The surprise of practice is Mobile, Alabama native Dustin Smith, whom is expected to compete for the Southern Super Series championship this season and finished fifth on the charts.

“Hopefully we can be in the ballpark for qualifying on Saturday,” Smith said. “There are a bunch of good guys in the field but Alex Query hasn’t let me down so far.”

Another expected contender should be Casey Roderick, driving for the tenured Ronnie Sanders Racing team. He simply shook his brand new car down on Friday but is expected to put some fast laps on the track before Saturday qualifying.

“I feel good about it actually,” Roderick said. “I’m ready to see how she does in the race. Everything is new on the car, every part, but I think we’ve got a good piece overall.”

Super Late Model practice begins at 9:30 a.m. CT on Saturday. Qualifying begins at 3:00 p.m. The top-24 will be locked in from time trials. A last chance race will begin shortly after 6 p.m. The main event that night is a 125-lap Baby Rattler Pro Late Model race.

The Rattler 250 is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. The race can be viewed live on Speed51.com.

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The complete results from final Friday practice can be viewed below.

  1. Raphael Lessard 15.190
  2. Jeff Choquette 15.245
  3. Corey Lajoie 15.326
  4. Chandler Smith 15.327
  5. Dustin Smith 15.414
  6. Chase Purdy 15.422
  7. Stephen Nasse 15.432
  8. Harrison Burton 15.435
  9. Corey Heim 15.471
  10. Anthony Sergi 15.478
  11. Tyler Ankrum 15.550
  12. Cole Anderson 15.580
  13. Garrett Jones 15.601
  14. Jerry Artuso 15.659
  15. Steven Davis 15.715
  16. Eddie Van Meter 15.749
  17. Augie Grill 15.765
  18. Bobby Knox Jr. 15.870
  19. Kyle Bryant 15.893
  20. Dalton Armstrong 16.244

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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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