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ASA 200 Winner Cole Butcher from Canada
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3/24/2024

3/24/2024

Five Flags Speedway


ASA 200 Winner Cole Butcher from Canada

Butcher Slingshots to Sunshine State 200 Victory to Close The Big Weekend

By Chuck Corder
5flagsspeedway.com reporter

Traveling 12 hours in one day is an unenviable task.
Cole Butcher made a long trip a lot more tolerable Sunday at Five Flags Speedway.

It’s about a half-day’s journey through the air from Pensacola to his native Porters Lake, Nova Scotia. But Butcher is happy to endure all of flight's little inconveniences if it means returning home and celebrating his big Sunshine State 200 win on The Big Weekend at Five Flags with those closest to him.
Butcher captured his second career ASA STARS National Tour race and his first Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series at Pensacola’s high banks against a stout 29-car field.

“This was the best car I've ever had here,” said Butcher, who led a 1-3 finish for Wilson Motorsports. “This feels good.”
Butcher, 27, has enjoyed impressive results at Five Flags. He has four top-fives in seven career Snowball Derby starts, including a fourth last December.

Butcher won the first of three stages Sunday afternoon and then made a veteran move on 17-year-old Gio Ruggiero to reclaim the lead for good with 22 laps remaining. The pair battled door-to-door for three laps after restarting next to each other on the front row. On Lap 178, Butcher pulled off a savvy slingshot maneuver that saw him leave his outside position and slide under Ruggiero in a matter of seconds.
“It was tough. Gio is a great racer,” Butcher said. “He was good on the bottom, but we were able to cross him over. I put my head down and then we set sail.”

Stephen Nasse mixed it up with old rival Bubba Pollard and enjoyed a spectacular run to a runner-up finish. Ruggiero, less than 24 hours after winning the ARCA Menards Series East Pensacola 150, rounded out the podium.

Former Blizzard and Allen Turner Hyundai Pro Late Models champion Casey Roderick took the lead on Lap 1 and led the first 50 laps until a mandatory competition caution came out. All but three of the 29 cars came to the pits under the competition caution. The three happened to be all Wilson Motorsports cars under the direction of crew chief Bond Suss. The strategic move paid dividends as Butcher took over the lead and scored the Stage 1 victory at Lap 75.

Seventy-five laps later, Ruggiero won Stage 2 after he passed Butcher on Lap 147, three laps shy of the stage finish. The pair would once again be nose-to-tail for the final 50 laps, deftly driving side-by-side on numerous occasions and not touching one another’s cars until Butcher passed Ruggiero for the final time.

Unofficial Finish:

1 28 Cole Butcher, Hansport, NS Canada
2 51 Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, FL
3 22 Gio Ruggiero, Seekonk, MA
4 16 Jacob Gomes, Manteca, CA
5 54 Matt Craig , Concord, NC
6 69 Michael Hinde, Hernando, FL
7 51 Jake Finch, Lynn Haven, FL
8 24 Colby Howard, Simpsonville, NC
9 50 Jett Noland, Groveland, FL
10 13 Sean Hignorani, Irvine, CA
11 26 Casey Roderick Pulaski, MS
12 23 Billy Vanmeter, Indianapolis, IN
13 44 Conner Jones, Fredericksburg, VA
14 33 Albert Francis, Painesville, OH
15 8 Jace Hansen, Berthoud, CO
16 78 Jo Lawrence, London, ONT Canada
17 26 Bubba Pollard, Senoia, GA
18 2 John Bolen, Jasper, AL
19 30 Kyle Steckly, Milverton, ONT. Canada
20 14 Connor Okrzesik, Grand Bay, AL
21 14 Michael Atwell, Naples, FL
22 33 Dustin Smith, Mobile, AL
23 26 Dawson Sutton, Labanon, TN
24 32 Caden Kvapil, Mooresville, NC
25 21 Michael Goddard, Ft. Myers, FL
26 14 Austin Nason, Roscoe, Ill
27 1 Kasey Kleyn, Quincy, WA
28 28 Timothy Watson, Panama City, FL
29 89 Dylan Fetcho, Lebanon, TN


Article Credit: David Kranak Photos

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