Date: May 26, 2020
Event: N.C. Education Lottery 200 (Race 3 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 20th/15th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: Chase Elliott of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Raphael Lessard was relegated to a 15th-place finish in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in his first start at the 1.5-mile speedway. The young driver started in the 20th position and led his first laps of the 2020 season. The Canadian teenager battled a loose-handling truck throughout the night.
Stage One Recap:
- Lessard started in the 20th position after a random draw in tiers based on the 2019 Gander Trucks owner’s points. During the competition caution on Lap 15, Lessard radioed to his crew stating that he was tight in Turn 1 but loose everywhere else on the racetrack. At the time of caution, he was running in the 19th position. He would bring his Tundra down for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments.
- The CANAC Tundra would remain on the lead lap for the remainder of the stage to finish in the 17th position
Stage Two Recap:
- Before the start of Stage Two, Lessard told Crew Chief Mike Hillman Jr. that he was more secure than the first run but remained on the free side.
- The No. 4 CANAC team decided to stay out to start the second stage in the second position and garnered the race lead for two laps before falling back to finish the stage in the 13th position.
Final Stage Recap:
- Before hitting pit road, Lessard communicated to his team that he was too loose, especially on corner entry, and that he “learned a lot” during the first two stages and would apply those lessons to the final stage. Once on pit road, the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop.
- When the final stage went green on lap 69, the No. 4 Toyota was scored in the 13th position. When the caution flag flew on Lap 79, Lessard had fallen back to the 22nd position. He radioed to the crew that he lost overall grip during the run and would go from being loose to tight in the corner. The over-the-wall crew administered another stop for four tires and fuel while applying a piece of bear bond to the front of the nose from contact earlier in the race. He would restart 27th.
- The race restarted on Lap 86, but the caution flag flew less than one lap later. The No. 4 Tundra would remain on the racetrack and would restart in the 13th position with 42 laps remaining.
- The caution flag flew again on Lap 97, but the CANAC Tundra stayed out on the racetrack. Lessard told his crew that the “front end was late into the corner tight, land and then be loose.” He would restart in the 10th position
- Lessard worked his way up to eight before the seventh and final caution of the night flew. He would restart from the eighth position on the final restart on Lap 107.
- When the field crossed the finish line to end the 134-lap event, the CANAC Tundra was scored in the 15th position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 CANAC Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
“The first race back in action was P15 for my CANAC Toyota Tundra. It was the first race on board with CANAC. It is an awesome opportunity to have them on board so big thanks to them. We got better as the race went on, but it was a pretty eventful race. I led my first lap in the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series. I’m pretty happy. We always want to be better. We always want to be faster. At the end, I ran my fastest lap those last couple of laps, so that means I got better and better. It was my first laps here at Charlotte. I’m pretty happy with it.”
N.C. Education Lottery 200 Recap:
- The race featured seven cautions for a total of 37 laps. There were 19 lead changes among 10 drivers. Lessard led once for a total of two laps.
How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished second.
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 14th.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After three events, Lessard ranks 15th in the Gander Trucks championship standings. The rookie of the year candidate sits 59 tallies behind points leader Austin Hill.
Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action June 6 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the Vet Tix Camping World 200 begins Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FS1.