Raphael Lessard and Mobil 1 Team Earn Hard-Fought 20th-Place Finish at Las Vegas
Date: Sept. 25, 2020
Event: World of Westgate 200 (Race 18 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS)
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 15th / 20th (Running, completed 133 of 134 laps)
Winner: Austin Hill of Hattori Racing Enterprises (Toyota)
After suffering two flat tires in the first ten laps and subsequently falling three laps down, Raphael Lessard and the Mobil 1 | Frameco team were able to use the strategy game to gain two of their laps back and ended the day with a hard-fought 20th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.Stage One Recap:
- Raphael Lessard started in the 15th position after a performance matrix based off finishing position from the previous race, ranking in the owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
- In the opening laps, Raphael Lessard had worked his way into the top-10 before tagging the outside wall. On Lap 4, Raphael Lessard brought his Tundra to the pit lane as veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called for the over-the-wall crew to change only right-side tires and clear the fenders. Unfortunately, Raphael Lessard reported another flat tire on Lap 7 and was summoned back to pit road.
- The diagnosis was that the inside fender was rubbing the right-front tire. Under the competition caution, the No. 4 team utilized the time to fix the fenders.
- Raphael Lessard would finish the stage in the 33rd position, three laps down.
Stage Two Recap:
- At the stage break, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 | Frameco Tundra was wrecking loose. In an effort to gain a lap, Mike Hillman Jr. kept his rookie driver on the track to take the wave around. Raphael Lessard would start the stage from the 31st position, two laps down.
- As the entire stage went green, Raphael Lessard was able to maintain his position two laps down and would finish the stage in the 28th position.
- During the stage caution, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that his Tundra was still “wrecking loose”. Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his driver to pit lane for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments. Raphael Lessard would start the stage from the 28th position.
- After the fourth caution fell on Lap 85, the lead-lap trucks all came down pit road. Mike Hillman Jr. kept his driver out on the racetrack to get another lap back on the leaders. Raphael Lessard would restart from the 27th position, one lap down.
- When the fifth caution flew on Lap 91, Raphael Lessard fell short of getting into the free pass position, so Mike Hillman Jr. called his driver down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, adjustments and to repair some damage. Raphael Lessard would restart from the 28th position.
- Over the final 43 laps Raphael Lessard was able to work his way up to finish in the 20th position.
Raphael Raphael Lessard , driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 | Frameco Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports
What happened early in the race that caused you to go laps down?
“At the beginning of the race I went from fifteenth to top-10 in the first few laps. However, the truck went off and I hit the wall, which caused the first puncture. After the pit stop, we had a second puncture on the same tire as the inside wing was rubbing against the tire. After the second stop on la7 seven and losing three laps on the leader, it was difficult to get back. The truck was loose for the rest of the race. We did everything we could to make up the lost laps and fought hard to the end. Thanks to my Crew Chief’s strategy we still managed to get back up to 20th position. It’s not the result we wanted. Many thanks to Mobil 1, Canac and Frameco, our partners whose support is always very much appreciated,” added the young driver, who is clearly dissatisfied with the unlucky way the race turned out.
World of Westgate 200 Recap:
- Austin Hill scored his sixth-career NGROTS victory beating Sheldon Creed by 0.546 seconds. Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen, and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured five cautions for a total of 25 laps. There were four lead changes among four drivers.
How Raphael Lessard ’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished fifth.
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished eighth.
NGROTS Championship Standings:
After 18 events, Raphael Lessard sits 13th in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series point standings, 19 tallies behind Tanner Gray for the 12th position.
Raphael Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 CANAC Tundra when the NGROTS resumes action on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Live coverage will be on RDS, Fox Sports Racing, FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1 p.m. ET.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 (KBMteam) and by following the team on Instagram (KBMteam) and Twitter (@KBMteam).
CANAC, FRL Express Inc, JBL Audio, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Mobile 1, NASCAR, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Serie (NGROTS), NASCAR Truck Series, No. 4 JBL Canac Toyota, Raphaël Lessard, Raphaël Lessard Racing, Richelieu Hardware, SiriusXM, Toyota, Toyota Racing,
**Press Release prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography