Raphael Lessard Relegated To 26th-Place Finish After Jack Failure
Date: September 10, 2020
Event: ToyotaCare 250 (Race 16 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS)
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway (0.75-mile D-shaped oval)
Format: Three Stages; 70 laps/70 laps/110 laps
Start/Finish: 7th /26th (Running, completed 245 of 250 laps)
Winner: Grant Enfinger of ThorSport Racing (Ford)
In his first career start at Richmond (V.A.) Raceway, Raphael Lessard was relegated to a 26th-place finish after an error while changing the tires during a pit stop cost him four laps. Despite the disappointing finish, the rookie driver remains in the 12th position in the driver’s points standings.Stage One Recap:
- Raphael Lessard started in the seventh position after a performance matrix based off of finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
- During the first run of the race, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 | Canac Toyota was getting tighter. When the first caution flew on Lap 55, the rookie mentioned that his truck had no rear grip and his truck was “loose in, tight middle, loose off.” Veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. kept his rookie driver out on the racetrack. Raphael Lessard would restart from the fifth position, and on the choose lap, he lined up in the fourth row on the inside lane.
- Raphael Lessard would finish the stage in the 15th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- At the stage break, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 | Canac Tundra was plowing in the center of the turns and did not have rear grip. Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his rookie driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Unfortunately, a jack malfunctioned while the team was changing tires on the left side of the truck that caused the No. 4 team to go three laps down and then the situation worsened when NASCAR penalized the team another lap for pitting outside of the box. Raphael Lessard would restart in the 27th position.
- As the entire stage went green, Raphael Lessard would finish the stage in the 27th position.
- During the stage caution, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that his Tundra was super tight with no grip. Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his rookie driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment. Raphael Lessard would make a second trip down pit road to replace the transponder.
- Under the fourth and final caution of the race on Lap 175, Raphael Lessard radioed that his Mobil 1 | Canac Tundra was more secure during the run.
- Raphael Lessard would finish the race in the 26th position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 | Canac Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
What happened during your pit stop that caused you to go several laps down?
“At the end of stage one, we had a bad pit stop. The car dropped to the ground, my signal to leave the pits, before the left rear tire was installed correctly. The repairs cost us four laps and pretty much ruined our day right there. We had a pretty good Toyota Tundra. We could’ve made it a lot better throughout the race. I felt like we could’ve made it to the top-five at the end, maybe, but oh well. I can’t thank everyone enough at Mobil 1, CANAC and Kyle Busch Motorsports. We will get our confidence back up. We will move on to Bristol. We aren’t in the playoffs, so we have nothing to lose. We’re just going to be aggressive and go get those wins.”
ToyotaCare 250 Recap:
- Grant Enfinger scored his fifth-career victory and third of the season at Richmond Raceway beating teammate Matt Crafton by 1.033 seconds. Ben Rhodes, Brett Moffitt, and Tyler Ankrum rounded out the top-five
- The race featured four cautions for a total of 37 laps. There were eight lead changes among six drivers.
How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 18th.
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 12th.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After 16 events, Raphael Lessard sits 12th in the NGROTS point standings.
Raphael Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Canac Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the UNOH 200 will be on RDS, FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 7:30 p.m. ET.
**Press Release prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography