St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada (February 15th, 2019) – The 17-Year-Old Canadian driving phenom Raphael Lessard has committed to a 3-race program in KBM-prepared trucks. Lessard will make his debut in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on March 23 at Martinsville Raceway (Virginia, USA) He will follow this up at the Dover International Speedway (May 3, Delaware, USA) and Bristol Motor Speedway (August 15, Tennessee, USA) rounds of the same series.
Raphael Lessard has gained some solid experience over the last three seasons, racing as a 14-year-old in major Pro Late Model and Super Late Model events, where he impressed everyone with his natural speed and his ability to weave his way through traffic without losing time. Working with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), other teams and as part of the Toyota Racing Development Program (TRD), Raphael achieved remarkable results over his three seasons in top-level Super Late Model racing: winning 10 races, achieving 23 top-5, 23 top-10 finishes, four pole positions, and winning the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Championship.
In addition to the three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races in this year’s program, more races in K&N, ARCA and other NASCAR-related series may be added as the season develops.
The young driver has one goal for this season: to win as many races as possible. To optimise his effort, Lessard has decided to align himself with the best possible team: Kyle Busch Motorsports. “The other teams I have raced with all worked hard to give me the best car possible and the great results speak for themselves. With KBM for 2019, I am again assured of having one of the best trucks out there, race after race. KBM is a team of winners, and I intend to take full advantage of the great situation I find myself into. One thing is certain; we will be going for the win every time out”, declared a highly motivated driver.
“It’s rewarding as an owner to see the progression of young drivers like Raphael, and Erik Jones and Christopher Bell before him, that start out in our Super Late Models as part of the Toyota Racing Development program and are able to turn that into an opportunity to compete in the Truck Series,” owner Kyle Busch said. “Raphael was really fast in our Super Late Models last season and added a couple of marquee wins to KBM’s resume. We expect that he’ll be able to step right in and be competitive as he makes the jump to the next level.”
Photo credit: Bruce Nuttleman
ABOUT KYLE BUSCH MOTORSPORTS
Since debuting in 2010, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) has quickly established itself as one of the most successful teams in all of NASCAR. Owned by 2015 Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and fueled by his passion for winning, his organisation holds the Gander Outdoors Truck Series records for most team wins (68) and most team wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record six Owner’s Championships, the organisation has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
KBM prepares a fleet of race-winning Tundras out of a state-of-the-art 77,000-square-foot facility in Mooresville (N.C.) Fans can keep up-to-date with all the latest KBM news online at KyleBuschMotorsports.com, by liking the team on Facebook and by following the team on Instagram and Twitter.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius hybrid and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 60 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold nearly 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.45 million in the U.S.) in 2016 – and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today.
ABOUT RAPHAEL LESSARD
Born on July 5th, 2001, in St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Raphaël Lessard is one of the hottest prospects in North-American racing today. Raphaël made his debut as a race car driver in 2013, around local tracks in the Quebec City area. A quick learner, Lessard moved up the ranks through 2014, and in 2015 caught the eye of ex-NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland. This led to Lessard running in last four races of the season on the PASS North Tour; an asphalt late model division, driving for David Gilliland Racing. In 2016, his first full-time season with Gilliland, Lessard won the CARS Super Late Model Tour Championship with four wins, eight top-five and nine top-ten finishes in his No. 99 Toyota Camry. He also became the youngest Canadian race car driver to win in a USA-based major stock car series. Since 2016, Lessard is part of Toyota’s prestigious driver development program (TRD). To this day, he is the only Canadian to be recruited into this program.
2018 – Competed in 16 Super Late Model events for Kyle Busch Motorsports
- Earned two wins, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes
- Won the U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Won the Red Bull 400 at Anderson Speedway
- Led 60 laps at the prestigious Snowball Derby in December, when a leak put him out of the race with 6 laps to go.
2017 – Competed in 20 Super Late Model and two ARCA Series events
- Earned two wins and eight top-five finishes in Super Late Model competition
- Captured one top-10 in two starts in ARCA competition
2016 – Competed in 10 races
- CARS Super Late Model Series Champion
- Youngest Canadian driver to win in a USA-based major stock series
- Four wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes in the 10-race schedule
- Voted most popular driver in North America for 2016 by Speed51.com
- Named Top-10 Pavement Short Track Driver to watch in 2017 by Speed51.com
- Voted as the seventh-ranked driver in the United States by Speed51.com’s Short Track Power Ranking
DATE, RACE, SERIES, TEAM, START, RESULTS
- March 23, 2019: Martinsville Raceway, Virginia, USA ,Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Kyle Busch Motosports
- May 3, 2019: Dover International Speedway, Delaware, USA, Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Kyle Busch Motosports
- August 15, 2019: Bristol Motor Speedway, Tennessee, USA, Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Kyle Busch Motosports