RAPHAEL LESSARD WINNER OF THE “RISING STAR AWARD”
2020 BY THE CANADIAN MOTORSPORT HALL OF FAME
Each year, the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame selects a young driver who has had an impact on our community and shows the potential to greatly increase that impact over the coming years. Great names have received this honour, such as Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, for example. Raphael Lessard’s great accomplishments in the stock car world over the past two seasons have not gone unnoticed in Canada as well as south of the border and justify this nomination by the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame as this year’s Rising Star.
Raphaël Lessard: Driver, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Overview
Event: Strat 200 (Race 2 of 23), 134 Laps – 30/30/74; 201 Miles
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Feb. 21, 2020 at 9 p.m. ET on RDS, FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
** RDS and RDS DIRECT will present all 23 races of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 2020 season.
Racing with Raphael
- Last weekend in his Daytona debut, Raphael Lessard had a strong run derailed by a blown tire during the late-race chaos. The young driver started the race in the eighth position and brought his No. 4 Tundra home in 20th in his first ever start on a superspeedway. Lessard was running in the top10 in the final stage, but with 10 laps to go, he lost control of the No. 4 Tundra and lost track position despite making an impressive save. In the final laps, he sustained damage to the front fender and was relegated to 20th position.
- This Friday will be Lessard’s first start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his first start on a 1.5-mile track. The 18-year-old Canadian driver is in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and is competing for Rookie of the Year honors in the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra with veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr.
- Lessard made five series starts last season, three of those with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Across his five starts he posted two top-10 finishes while recording an average starting position of 10.4 and average finish of 11.1. Lessard’s strongest run came in his final start of the season when he was running inside the top five with under 30 laps remaining before getting spun and relegated to a 12th-place finish.
- In addition to a limited schedule in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series last season, Lessard led 83 laps, posted two top-five and three top-10 finishes across three ARCA Menards Series starts and one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. His Pinty’s Series victory came at his hometown track, Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallee-Jonction, Quebec, on June 29 when he led a race-high 153 laps en route to the sentimental win.
- While Lessard may be a newcomer to the Gander Trucks, Hillman Jr. has plenty of experience. The veteran crew chief has 301 Gander Truck Series starts under his belt, with 22 wins, 115 top-fives and 170 top-10 finishes with drivers including Todd Bodine, Jeb Burton, Kyle Busch and last season, Harrison Burton. Hillman Jr. was also the crew chief on the winning vehicle for the first ever Truck Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2005 with driver Todd Bodine. In addition, Hillman Jr. won with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel in 2018 and has two poles, seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes across 13 starts, with an average starting position of 4.9 and an average finish of 9.2.
- The world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, Mobil 1, features anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond our conventional motor oils. This technology allows Mobil 1 to meet or exceed the toughest standards of car builders and to provide exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even some of the most extreme conditions. Mobil 1 flows quickly in extreme temperatures to protect critical engine parts and is designed to maximize engine performance and help extend engine life.
Raphael Lessard, Driver Q&A
Since you haven’t been to Vegas before, what have you been doing to prepare? “I’ve studied a lot of video, in-car cameras from last year and the year before, and TRD has an awesome simulator that we can use and we practice a lot with the team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Mike Hillman Jr., my crew chief. I think we should be pretty good, it’s just going to be about me getting used to a mile and a half and the aero stuff and everything to be fast. I’m just really looking forward to it and hopefully my Mobil 1 Tundra is as good as it was in Daytona.”
What did you think about your Daytona debut? “I think it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot. I can finally say that I raced at Daytona. That’s pretty amazing, it’s a dream come true. I think it went really well for my first race there. In the draft, the truck was handling amazing. Just a lot of learning and I’m ready to keep learning going on to Vegas.”
Raphael Lessard Career Highlights
- Across six career Truck Series starts has produced two top-10 finishes and an average finish of 12.7.
- In 2019, Lessard posted 83 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes across three ARCA Menards Series starts and one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. His Pinty’s Series victory came at his hometown track, Autodrome Chaudiere in ValleeJonction, Quebec, on June 29 when he led a race-high 153 laps en route to the sentimental win.
- Won two marquee events driving KBM’s famed No. 51 Super Late Model in 2018; the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway in May and the Red Bud 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson Speedway in July.
- Overall in 16 starts for KBM in 2018 split across the CARS Super Late Model Tour, the Southern Super Series and the ARCA/CRA Super Series, posted two wins, three poles, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2018.
- Started seventh and led 68 laps in the prestigious Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in 2018
- Captured the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour championship after recording four wins, one pole, 157 laps led, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes across 10 races.
Raphael Lessard’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra:
KBM-062: The No. 4 Mobil 1 team will unload chassis number KBM-062 for Friday’s Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This chassis is brand new.
KBM Notes of Interest
- KBM drivers have collected three wins (Erik Jones 2014, Kyle Busch 2018 and 2019), four poles (Kyle Busch 2018, Noah Gragson 2018 and Christian Eckes 2019), 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. They have earned a collective average starting position of 8.1 and average finish of 11.7 and have led 422 laps.
- KBM holds the NGROTS records for most career wins (75) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a seriesrecord seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota Tundra 2020 NGOTS Box Score:
Date – Site – Driver – Start – Finish – Laps – Laps Led – Status – Driver Pts./Pos.
2/14 – Daytona – Raphael Lessard – 8- 20 – 105/106 – 0 – Running – 24/14th
2/21 – Las Vegas- Raphael Lessard
**Press Release prepared by Kyle Busch Motorpsorts
Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography and Getty Images via Kyle Busch Motorsports