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Unpacking Pensacola 200

Stephen Nasse continues his consistent performances at Five Flags Speedway, with yet another Top Five run. The six-time Blizzard Series winner secured his fifth top-two finish in the last nine races, bringing him back into the mix in the ASA STARS National Tour standings and the ASA Southern Super Series. Nasse is aiming for his third Southern Super Series title.

Cole Butcher's victory in the 88th race made him the first Canadian winner in the Deep South Crane Blizzard Series. The race was combined with the ASA STARS National Tour and the Southern Super Series. This was only the second time a Blizzard race was held at the distance of 200 laps. Butcher is the 32nd driver to win in the Blizzard series in 88 races.

Gio Ruggiero put in an impressive performance, leading a bunch of laps and taking home a third-place finish. The defending Southern Super Series driver had a great weekend with a victory the night before in the ARCA East Series race.

Cole Butcher led the race-high 103 laps on Sunday afternoon at Five Flags, pushing his laps leader totals in the ASA STARS National Tour to over 300. Although he may not appear again until the Pensacola-Mobile double or the next combination race at Hickory in May, he will undoubtedly be a big contender either way.

Jett Noland finished in ninth place on Sunday at Five Flags, pushing his stock a little higher. Although it was not as strong as his recent performances in the South, the fact that he was ahead of Casey Roderick and Bubba Pollard will help in the points department.

Matt Craig ended the 14-race streak of different pole award winners, securing the fast-time award and marking three different pole award winners in 2024 with the Southern Super Series and two different ones in the ASA STARS Tour ranks. Craig rebounded from a sluggish start to post a fifth-place finish, marking his fourth top-five in the Blizzard series and his 12th top-10 in 14 starts, which is better than 84%.

Jake Finch grabbed a seventh-place finish in his Super Late Model after his night was cut short on Saturday in the ARCA East event.  Finch will be tough each time out with a limited schedule; he won the ARCA East race at Dover last year.  

Michael Hinde's sixth-place finish should catapult him from 12th into the top 10 in points, as he needed a good run to climb back up in the rankings. Hinde has finished in the top 10 in the last three Blizzard events.

In only his third Five Flags start outside of the Snowball Derby, Jacob Gomes finished a career-best fourth after enduring the long afternoon. The Manteca, California driver is looking to be the second-consecutive track champion from that state, as Jeremy Doss won the track title a year ago despite the travel.

Colby Howard, a former winner in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model ranks, had never raced at Five Flags Speedway in a Super Late Model. His success there proved to be of value as he finished eighth. Sean Hingorani also posted a 10th-place run in his Super Late Model debut at Five Flags. 

A few names were absent this weekend, including the likes of Ty Majeski, Jeremy Doss, Derek Thorn, Preston Peltier, and others. We expect to see more of them in the upcoming Blizzard and Southern Super Series.

(Liberty Racing Review Photo)

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