Rain interrupted Rattler 250 qualifying twice on Saturday at South Alabama Speedway, but the precipitation held off long enough to see Raphael Lessard capture the pole for the annual Southern Super Series season-opener.
Lessard captured the pole with a 15.102 lap around the 4/10th-mile speedway in Kinston, Alabama.
The 16-year-old French-Canadian said that while the rain and humidity did affect the session, he ultimately feels thrilled with his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
“It rained, it stopped, it started again,” Lessard said. “I was all buckled up and ready to go and I had to jump out.”
Lessard said he hopes the rain will hold off on Rattler Sunday because he feels he has the car to beat, but also acknowledged the competition is steep.
“You’ve got Chandler Smith, he is really fast, Harrison Burton, Bubba Pollard, there are a bunch of drivers who could win this race,” Lessard said.
In fact, Burton believes he should have had a shot at the pole, but only posted the 12th best lap because it started raining again as he was the last driver to qualifying. He took to social media afterward to joke that he needs to practice racing in the rain more often.
Rain started coming down right before we went to qualify ended up p12. I should go to @GoProMotorplex in the rain more often 😂 on to the race tomorrow
— Harrison Burton (@HBurtonRacing) March 17, 2018
During the initial interruption, many of the drivers huddled under what was formerly the tech shed in the infield of the speedway, waiting for track officials to dry the track. Prior to the first rain delay, Corey LaJoie sat atop the pole with a 15.133, with Jeff Choquette just one single one thousand of a second behind him.
After the delay was a different story once Raphael Lessard took to the Kinston asphalt, posting his hot lap.
That would be enough to hold onto the pole for the 42nd Rattler 250, but just barely. Teenager Chandler Smith came in second just three one thousands of a second slower than Lessard. Bubba Pollard also made his return to Super Late Model racing after two separate wrecks to open the season, causing the team to have to repair their fleet.
Pollard was able to clinch seventh place.
The race is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, an hour and a half earlier than its scheduled time, thanks to rain. The race will be broadcast live on Speed51.com. You can order it here. The complete results of qualifying can be found below.
- Raphael Lessard 15.102
- Chandler Smith 15.105
- Corey Lajoie 15.133
- Jeff Choquette 15.134
- Kyle Plott 15.164
- Stephen Nasse 15.173
- Bubba Pollard 15.174
- Connor Okzesik 15.181
- Casey Roderick 15.208
- Steve Wallace 15.217
- Tyler Ankrum 15.251
- Harrison Burton 15.254
- Corey Heim 15.270
- Chase Purdy 15.301
- Garrett Jones 15.309
- Carson Hocevar 15.321
- Anthony Sergi 15.328
- Dalton Armstrong 15.354
- Cole Anderson 15.359
- Scotty Ellis 15.374
- Chris Davidson 15.379
- Steven Davis 15.439
- Kyle Bryant 15.444
- Jerry Artuso 15.498
- Steve Dorer 15.502
- Augie Grill 15.504
- Dustin Smith 15.567
- Eddie Van Meter 15.576
- Bobby Knox Jr. 15.699
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