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Mistake under caution costs Raphael Lessard shot at Rattler 250

Kyle Busch Motorsports

A mistake during an early caution may have cost Raphael Lessard a chance to win the Rattler 250.

After winning the pole on Saturday night and leading the early stages of the Southern Super Series season-opener, Lessard received a penalty on Lap 115 for passing the pace car under caution. He was trying to duck under the pace car to pit, per regulations, but was not allowed to pass the safety vehicle.

The penalty was starting at the back of the field for the Lap 120 restart.

The 16-year-old French Canadian raced his way back from 15th to 4th, but simply ran out of tires and time to complete the comeback, despite arguably having the best car on Sunday at South Alabama Speedway.

“I’m obviously disappointed that I passed the pace car,” Lessard said. “I shouldn’t have done this. However, I must learn from my mistakes and rest assure that I will not do it again. I’m really proud of my performance as I climbed from 16th to third place to eventually finish fourth. My car was very strong, and I found no problem passing people to make it back to the front. Luckily, the yellows also helped me, because they prevented the leaders to disappear into the distance.”

READ MORE: Complete Rattler 250 coverage

Next up for the 2016 CARS Tour Super Late Model champion is a return to the site of his initial success, returning for a second full-time CARS effort this season. Unlike that 2016 campaign, he will now race for Kyle Busch Motorsports and crew chief Cody Glick.

Their season begins this weekend at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina.

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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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