Date: July 11, 2020
Event: Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 (Race 7 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 35 laps/35 laps/1 lap
Start/Finish: 13th/13th (Running, completed 71 of 71 laps)
Winner: Sheldon Creed of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Raphael Lessard finished 13th in the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway after NASCAR called the event after rain and lightning hit the 1.5-mile facility and two stages had been completed.
Stage One Recap:
- Lessard started in the 13th position after a random draw in tiers based on the 2020 Gander Trucks owner’s points. The field barely made it a lap before the first caution of the day flew on Lap 1. Lessard would stay out under the first caution. He would restart 14th.
- When the second caution of the night fell on Lap 15, Lessard had worked his way up to the 10th position. He would radio to his crew that he still needs to learn the track better. The 19-year-old driver would not pit, and he was told by his spotter to keep working on his entry into Turn 1. He would restart 10th.
- During the third caution of the evening on Lap 23, Lessard radioed to his crew that he felt like his SiriusXM Tundra was on the edge. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. kept the rookie driver on the racetrack. He would restart in the seventh position. Before the green flag waved on Lap 26, Lessard was told that the restart would be a learning experience for him since the inside lane wasn’t the preferred lane.
- Lessard would finish Stage One in the 15th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Before the start of Stage Two, Lessard radioed that his Toyota Tundra was free turning off Turn 1 and a tick tight but good “center off” the turns. Hillman called the rookie driver down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. Lessard would start the second stage in the 20th position.
- When the fifth caution of the night waved on Lap 44, Lessard had worked his way to the 16th position. Lessard was told by his spotter to resist diving to the bottom of the racetrack and out of the PJ1to keep momentum. The rookie driver was reminded to be patient and keep doing what he was doing. He would remain in the 16th position.
- When the sixth caution of the night occurred, Lessard was still in the 16th position. He asked his crew how his tires from the opening stage were looking and was told that they were cording.
- The race went back green on Lap 51. Lessard would finish the stage in the 13th position.
- As the SiriusXM crew was talking through how the truck felt and possible adjustments, lightning struck within the eight-mile safety radius instituted by NASCAR. The field was brought down pit road. NASCAR would eventually lose the track and call the race. Lessard finished in the 13th position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 SiriusXM Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
“The race is over. It was not what we wanted, again. I don’t know why we didn’t try to continue the race and finish it, but oh well. P13. We started 13th. We wanted a top-10. We had a really good SiriusXM Tundra, but it’s bad for us that we didn’t get to race. The restart was so hard. I fell back to almost 20th at one point just because I was on the inside and track position was very important. With strategy, we could have got that track position at the end. At the end, I got better and almost gained a half second and running down everyone in front of us. It is what it is. We will focus on the next one and build on this and get better.”
Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 Recap:
- Sheldon Creed picked up his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series victory. Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, and Austin hill rounded out the top-five.
- The race featured seven cautions for a total of 25 laps. There were eight lead changes among six drivers.
How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished sixth
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 22nd.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After seven events, Lessard ranks 15th in the Gander Trucks championship standings. The rookie of the year candidate sits 55 tallies behind Johnny Sauter for the 10th and final spot in the Truck Series Playoffs.
Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action July 18 at Texas Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the Vankor 350 begins Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.