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Raphaël Lessard Finishes 16th Friday Night & Equals Season-Best Result by Finishing 11th Saturday Afternoon at Kansas

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lessard mobil1 topRaphaël Lessard: Driver, No. 4 Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Toyota

Raphaël Lessard Finishes 16th Friday Night &
Equals Season-Best Result by Finishing 11th Saturday afternoon at Kansas

Saturday, Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Driver Rebounds from Tire Issue and
Subsequent Spin to Salvage Respectable OutcomeRaphaël Lessard

Date: July 24 & 25, 2020
Event: Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 & (Races 9 & 10 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS)
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages (each race) 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 12th /16th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps) & 16th /11th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winners: Hill of Hattori Racing Enterprises (Toyota) & Matt Crafton of Thorsport Racing (Ford)

First Race – Friday Night – P16
Raphaël Lessard started 12th and finished 16th in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at Kansas Speedway. Raphaël Lessard battled a loose-handling Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Tundra throughout the 134-lap event.

Stage One Recap:

      • Lessard started in the 12th position after a random draw in tiers based on the 2020 NGROTS owner’s points. During the first 20 laps run prior to the first caution, the Toyota Development Driver was free everywhere when running by himself on the racetrack and tight on the top side of the racetrack when in traffic. During that first caution, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called his rookie driver down pit road and the over-the-wall crew would administer a two-tire stop. He would restart in the 13th position.
      • Raphaël Lessard would finish Stage One in the 11th position.

Stage Two Recap:

      • Before the start of Stage Two, Raphaël Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Toyota Tundra was tighter overall. Due to pitting less than ten laps prior to the stage break, Raphaël Lessard stayed on the racetrack and restarted from the third position. Under the caution, he was told to run his left side tires on the top seam in the turns because it would help him protect the top lane.
      • With four laps remaining in the stage, Raphaël Lessard radioed to his crew that he had no grip.
      • The rookie driver would finish the stage in the 16th position.

Final Stage:

      • During the caution, Raphaël Lessard was called down pit road for four tires and fuel. He would restart from the eighth position.
      • During the fourth caution of the night, Raphaël Lessard was running in the ninth position and radioed that he felt that the right-rear tire lacked grip. Mike Hillman Jr. called his rookie down pit road and the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire stop in what would be the final pit stop of the night. Raphaël Lessard would restart from the 11th position.
      • On Lap 100, Raphaël Lessard radioed in that he was doing everything he can, but his Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Tundra was too loose. Thirteen laps later, he radioed that he was searching to find grip on the racetrack.
      • When the checkered flag flew, Raphaël Lessard was scored in the 16th position.

Raphaël LessardRaphaël Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

“Well, it was not the night we wanted at all. We were very, very loose. Just way too loose, especially on long runs. I felt like on short runs I could keep up with them, but as we run, it would just get super free on me. We will get better for tomorrow. We will work on it. We’ll talk with the team and my crew chief Mike Hillman. We will just try to get it tomorrow. It is going to be a different temperature tomorrow. I think the truck will handle a little bit differently. I’m just ready to get back at it tomorrow.”

Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 Recap:

      • Austin Hill scored his first win of 2020 by 2.928 seconds over Brett Moffitt. Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton and Derek Kraus rounded out the top-five.
      • The race featured four cautions for a total of 19 laps. There were 16 lead changes among eight drivers.

How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:

      • Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 13th.
      • Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 14th.

Second Race – Saturday Afternoon – P11

Raphaël Lessard rebounded from a late-race tire issue that caused his No. 4 Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Tundra to spin late in the race to equal his season-best result with an 11th-place finish in the e.p.t 200 at Kansas Speedway.

Stage One Recap:

      • Raphaël Lessard started in the 16th after a top-15 invert was established after last night’s event at Kansas Speedway. In the opening stage, Raphaël Lessard radioed to his crew that he was really tight off the corner.
      • Raphaël Lessard would finish Stage One in the ninth position and score two stage points.

Stage Two Recap:

      • Before the start of Stage Two, Raphaël Lessard radioed to his crew that he first started the opening stint being free on entry, but as the run continued, the Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Tundra turned tight. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned the rookie driver down pit road and the over-the-wall crew administered a four tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment. Raphaël Lessard would restart in the 12th position.
      • During the second caution of the day on Lap 44, the rookie driver was running 13th and radioed to his crew that he found something while running the bottom groove. He would restart from the 12th position
      • Raphaël Lessard would finish the second stage in the 16th position.

Final Stage:

      • During the stage caution, Raphaël Lessard communicated to Mike Hillman Jr. that he couldn’t work the top lane but wanted to work the bottom lane. The rookie was summoned down pit road for four tires and fuel. He would restart from the 14th position.
      • The fourth caution of the day flew on Lap 74 as Raphaël Lessard had worked his way to the 12th position. He radioed to his crew that his truck was running better at the top.
      • Under the fifth caution of the day on Lap 79, the rookie driver mentioned that he felt that his truck was the “best that it’s been.” He stayed out and would restart from the eighth position.
      • Under the sixth caution on Lap 84, Raphaël Lessard radioed to his crew that he wanted a little bit more of the previous adjustments. Under the red flag, Raphaël Lessard and the team debated on whether to pit or not, and eventually decided to come down pit road for four tires and fuel. He would restart from the 11th position.
      • Under the seventh caution of the day on Lap 95, the Mobil 1 | Richelieu Hardware Tundra stayed out and restarted from the 12th position.
      • Four laps prior to spinning in Turn One to bring out the eighth caution, Raphaël Lessard radioed to his crew that he had a left-front tire rub. The rookie driver was summoned to pit road to change only the left side tires in an effort to stay on the lead lap. After staying on the lead lap, Mike Hillman Jr. summoned the rookie down pit road for four tires. Raphaël Lessard received a penalty for pitting too soon and would restart at the tail of the field in the 21st position.
      • Raphaël Lessard worked his way up to the 17th position before the final caution of the day flew on Lap 109. Under the caution, the rookie driver was reminded to watch where he begins to pass on the restart.
      • Raphaël Lessard would rebound in the final run of the day to pass several trucks and finish in the 11th position.

lessard thumbRaphaël Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil1 Tundra | Richelieu Hardware for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

“Well, the race is over. It was not exactly the race we wanted, but we were better than yesterday. Our truck was way better to compete with those guys up front. We were just missing the opportunity. Every time we were coming through the field and making moves in the top-10, I felt like we would have a restart and do it all over again. Someone made contact with us at the end and we got a flat tire with 20 laps to go. We came back for an 11th place finish. You know what, we are getting better and better! I’m getting more comfortable. My crew chief Mike (Hillman Jr.) made some good adjustments all race long. I felt like I could feel those adjustments and feel the truck getting better and better, so that was a really positive thing for the day. We will keep on working. I look forward to going to Michigan and being even better there.”

e.p.t. 350 Recap:

      • Matt Crafton picked up his first victory of the 2020 season beating Christian Eckes by 0.324 seconds. Grant Enfinger, Tanner Gray and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five.
      • The race featured nine cautions for a total of 38 laps. There were 15 lead changes among nine drivers.

How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:

      • Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished second
      • Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished eighth.

Gander Trucks Championship Standings:

After 10 events, Lessard ranks 15th in the NGROTS championship standings. The rookie of the year candidate sits 177 tallies behind points leader Austin Hill.

Next Race:

Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra when the NGROTS resumes action on Friday, August 7, 2020, at Michigan International Speedway. Live coverage will be on RDS, FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 6 p.m. ET.

**Press Release prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports

Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

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