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Canadian to lead the field to green in All-American 400

The two-time Maritime Pro Stock Tour champion will lead the field to green …

Jeff Ames | STS

The history books won’t reflect it, but Cole Butcher came up just short in winning the pole for the 2018 All-American 400 that never happened due to a series of rainouts over the past calendar year.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter because the 23-year-old from Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia came back a year later and took his No. 53 Wilson Motorsports entry to the pole in dramatic fashion as the second-to-last qualifier on Saturday evening at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.

The two-time Maritime Pro Stock Series champion was fastest in Friday practice and backed it up with a 18.101 lap that knocked two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Derek Thorn from the top of the charts in the final moments of time trials.

As a result, a Canadian will lead the field to green on Sunday in the All-American 400.

“I’m happy, I’m shaking,” an exuberant Butcher said after the lap. “I’m just happy to get this done for the guys – Troy, Donnie and everyone at Wilson Motorsports. It’s my job to get it done behind the wheel and it was a good day for my teammates too.”

To his point, Casey Roderick and Donnie Wilson qualified 10th to place all three Wilson cars in the upper-third of the second Super Late Model crown jewel event of the fall.

Qualifying doesn’t mean a great deal in a 400 lap race but Butcher hopes to be able to manage the pace of the race from the front row upon leading the field to green.

“In my situation, since I haven’t raced here at all, we have a lot of options,” Butcher said. “Maybe we can set the pace early or let some of the experienced guys get by early so I can log laps. It was just important that we didn’t have to start the race from the rear and worry about losing a lap early.”

Thorn held the provisional pole for much of the session and admitted it was a bit of a gut punch to have not closed out on the pole.

“You always want to win,” Thorn said. “You want to win everything as a racer. At the same time, we’re happy with the speed.”

Thorn also says he doesn’t care one way or the other if Butcher is willing to conceded the lead early.

“You just have to race your own race,” Thorn said. “You have to just focus on what you have. Some guys will have handling issues or something will happen. I think you just fall in line because there will be some guys in the top-five falling back and some guys outside of the top-15 that will have much better race pace.

“You just have to figure out where to settle in.”

The session began in dramatic fashion when debuting World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model champion crashed in Turn 3 and 4 as the first driver out on old tires. His new Rowdy Manufacturing car was destroyed before one timed lap was even completed.

  1. Cole Butcher 18.101
  2. Derek Thorn 18.176
  3. Casey Roderick 18.290
  4. Josh Brock 18.292
  5. Stephen Nasse 18.316
  6. Dennis Prunty 18.399
  7. Travis Braden 18.405
  8. Bubba Pollard 18.414
  9. Michael House 18.423
  10. Donnie Wilson 18.450
  11. Ty Majeski 18.456
  12. Willie Allen 18.460
  13. Jake Garcia 18.465
  14. Austin Nason 18.467
  15. Carson Hocevar 18.505
  16. Chandler Smith 18.522
  17. Greg Van Alst 18.537
  18. Mason Mingus 18.575
  19. Brandon Watson 18.602
  20. Michael Simko 18.630
  21. John DeAngelis Jr 18.637
  22. Cole Williams 18.648
  23. Eddie MacDonald 18.720
  24. Jonathan Eilen 18.733
  25. Albert Francis 18.768
  26. Dalton Zehr 18.809
  27. Boris Jurkovic 18.890
  28. Kyle Neveau 18.930
  29. Johnny Brazier 19.078
  30. Mike Marlar NO TIME
  31. Ricky Baker NO TIME

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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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