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Southern Super Series

Raphael Lessard bests rain for Rattler 250 pole

Carson Fambro | STS

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.

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.

  1. Raphael Lessard 15.102
  2. Chandler Smith 15.105
  3. Corey Lajoie 15.133
  4. Jeff Choquette 15.134
  5. Kyle Plott 15.164
  6. Stephen Nasse 15.173
  7. Bubba Pollard 15.174
  8. Connor Okzesik 15.181
  9. Casey Roderick 15.208
  10. Steve Wallace 15.217
  11. Tyler Ankrum 15.251
  12. Harrison Burton 15.254
  13. Corey Heim 15.270
  14. Chase Purdy 15.301
  15. Garrett Jones 15.309
  16. Carson Hocevar 15.321
  17. Anthony Sergi 15.328
  18. Dalton Armstrong 15.354
  19. Cole Anderson 15.359
  20. Scotty Ellis 15.374
  21. Chris Davidson 15.379
  22. Steven Davis 15.439
  23. Kyle Bryant 15.444
  24. Jerry Artuso 15.498
  25. Steve Dorer 15.502
  26. Augie Grill 15.504
  27. Dustin Smith 15.567
  28. Eddie Van Meter 15.576
  29. Bobby Knox Jr. 15.699

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