St-Joseph-de-Beauce – Quebec, Canada – (November 25, 2020) – Raphael Lessard Racing announced today that the young Quebec driver will race in select races in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). He will drive a truck prepared by the dominant GMS Racing organization that finished in the top three places in the championship in 2020. The agreement with GMS Racing covers twelve races to be determined over the season. In parallel, Raphael Lessard Racing team members are working to find the necessary financing to participate in all 22 events on the 2021 calendar.
The first race of the 2021 NCWTS season will be part of the traditional “Daytona Speed Week,” and will be held on Friday, February 12, 2021.
“We are very excited to have Raphael join GMS Racing for part of the 2021 season,” said Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing. “I believe Raphael will be a great addition to our GMS stable and I look forward to seeing him wheel one of our Chevrolets.”Review of the 2020 season and outlook for 2021
Raphael Lessard ended his 2020 season on a high note, accumulating in the second half of the season one win, four top-5 and six top-10 finishes. In addition, he managed to improve from his starting to his finishing position in the incident-free races by 67 places, compared to 14 places in the first eight races of the season.
Q: Raphael, are you satisfied with the progress you made 2020?
“I learned an incredible amount in all aspects of racing during the 2020 season, about pure driving skills, race strategies, aerodynamics, passing and legally making it difficult for others to pass me, adapting my driving to compensate for any handling issues and helping the team understand any issues to fix them at the next stop, focusing better on my driving despite any adversity. The win at Talladega certainly helped the team and myself gain confidence, and also convinced us that we were able to race with the best and win.”
Q: What does it mean to you to be at GMS Racing for 2021?
“Finding myself with the best team of the 2020 season is unbelievable. They won the championship! I can’t wait to show what we can do aboard such great machines. The team knows how to bring potential winners at every race, a key to a great season. Our team will be great, and I can’t wait to be back on track.”
Q: What is your first goal for the 2021 season?
“To do as many races as possible. I would like to win races and above all finish in the top five in every race, as well as continue to improve my driving.”Raphael Lessard Career Highlights:
Since his on-track debut at the age of 11, Raphael Lessard has raced throughout eastern Canada and the United States, establishing a solid reputation as a driver to watch. In 2020, the young Beauceron decided to make the jump into a professional series by participating in the 23 races of the NCWTS series (previously NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series).
Across 28 career NCWTS starts, Raphael Lessard has scored one win, four top-five (two podiums) and nine top-10 finishes, for an average finish in 14.5th position.
In 2019, Raphael 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 Vallee-Jonction, Quebec, on June 29th when he led a race-high 153 laps en route to an emotional win.
The young driver won two marquee events in 2018 aboard KBM’s famed No. 51 Super Late Model: The U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway in May and the Red Bud 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson Speedway in July. Raphael Lessard also 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.
Photo Credit: Bruce Nutleman
ABOUT FRL EXPRESS Inc.
F.R.L. Express Inc. is a general transportation company founded in 2004 by François Lessard. Its main field of activity over the last 15 years is general transport in closed trailers over short and long distances in Canada and the United States. FRL currently have about 50 employees in addition to about ten tow carriers. FRL owners are proud of the progress made in recent years thanks to the FRL team members and wishes to continue on this positive note. “Our employees, customer service and satisfaction are our priorities. We are all proud to be partners in the success and achievements of our son Raphael Lessard,” state the proud parents.
ABOUT GMS Racing
GMS Racing competes full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with drivers Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, Tyler Ankrum and Chase Purdy. The team also competes in the ARCA Racing Series with Jack Wood. Since the team began in 2014, GMS Racing won the 2016 and 2020 Camping World Trucks Championship, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series championship as well as the 2019 & 2020 ARCA East Championship. GMS has grown to occupy several buildings located in Statesville, N.C. The campus also includes operations for GMS Fabrication. More information can be found at gmsracing.net
ABOUT RAPHAEL LESSARD
Born on July 5, 2001, in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Raphael Lessard is one of the most promising prospects in North American oval racing. Raphael made his debut in stock-cars in 2013, on local tracks in the Quebec City area. His exceptional talent quickly allowed him to climb the ladder and attract the attention of David Gilliland, a former NASCAR Monster Energy Series driver and now a team owner, in 2015. An agreement then allowed Lessard to participate in the last four races of the season in the PASS North Tour Series.
In 2016, his first full-time season with Gilliland Racing, Lessard won the CARS Super Late Model Tour title with four wins, 8 top five and 9 top drivers to win a major stock car series title in the United States. Since 2016, Lessard has been part of the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) prestigious driver development program. To date, he is the only Canadian to have been recruited into this program.
2019 Season – 22 Races – 7 different types of vehicles:
- 6 podiums including 2 wins
- 10 top-5s
- 18 top-10s
Several Series :
- 5 NASCAR Gander Outdoors pickup races: two top-10 finishes & fastest time in Dover
- 3 ARCA races
- 1 race in K&N Pro East
- 2 races in NASCAR Pinty’s, 1 victory
- 5 races in NASCAR Late Model, 3 podiums
- 1 race in Super Late Model, double track record
- 2 races in Sportsman Dirt, 2 podiums
- 2 races in LMS
- 1 race in Pro Late Model
2018 – 16 races – Super Late Model with Kyle Busch Motorsports
- Two wins, seven top-5s and 13 top-10s
- Wins the U.S. Short Track Nationals race at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Wins the Red Bull 400 at Anderson Speedway
- Leads 60 laps at the famous Snowball Derby in December, before a mechanical problem puts him out of the race with only six (6) laps to go.
2017 – Competes in 20 Super Late Model races and two ARCA series races
- Two wins and eight top-5 finishes in the Super Late Model category
- A top-10 from two races in the ARCA series
- Voted the most popular driver in North America by Speed51.com
- Voted as one of the top 10 drivers to watch in 2017 by Speed51.com
- Named by Speed51.com Short Track Power Ranking as 7th best driver in the United States
2016 – Participates in 10 races
- CARS Super Late Model Series Champion
- Youngest Canadian driver to win a prestigious stock-car series in the United States
- Four wins, eight top-5s and nine top-10s in 10 races
2021 Season – GMS Racing – NCWTS
Date/Circuit/Start/Finish/Laps/Laps Led/Status/Driver Pts./Pos.
Friday, February 19 – Homestead-Miami
Friday, March 5 – Las Vegas
Saturday, March 20 – Atlanta
Saturday, March 27 – Bristol Dirt
Saturday, April 17 – Richmond
Saturday, May 1 – Kansas
Friday, May 7 – Darlington
Saturday, May 22 – COTA
Friday, May 28 – Charlotte
Saturday, June 12 – Texas
Friday, June 18 – Nashville
Saturday, June 26 – Pocono
Friday, July 9 – Knoxville
Saturday, August 7 – Watkins Glen
Friday, August 20 – Gateway
Sunday, September 5 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Thursday, September 16 – Bristol
Friday, September 24 – Las Vegas
Saturday, October 2 – Talladega
Saturday, October 30 – Martinsville
Friday, November 5 – Phoenix
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