Date: Sept. 25, 2020
Event: World of Westgate 200 (Race 18 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
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 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:
- 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, Lessard had worked his way into the top-10 before tagging the outside wall. On Lap 4, 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, 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.
- Lessard would finish the stage in the 33rd position, three laps down.
Stage Two Recap:
- At the stage break, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 Tundra was wrecking loose. In an effort to gain a lap, Hillman kept his rookie driver on the track to take the wave around. Lessard would start the stage from the 31st position, two laps down.
- As the entire stage went green, Lessard was able to maintain his position two laps down and would finish the stage in the 28th position.
- During the stage caution, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Tundra was still “wrecking loose”. Hillman summoned his driver to pit lane for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments. 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. Hillman kept his driver out on the racetrack to get another lap back on the leaders. Lessard would restart from the 27th position, one lap down.
- When the fifth caution flew on Lap 91, Lessard fell short of getting into the free pass position, so Hillman called his driver down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, adjustments and to repair some damage. Lessard would restart from the 28th position.
- Over the final 43 laps Lessard was able to work his way up to finish in the 20th position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
What happened early in the race that caused you to go laps down?
“At the start of the race, we had two flat tires in the first laps and had to get in the pits twice under the green and went multiple laps down. We never backed down and gave everything we had. We were able to get all but one of our laps back and finished the race P20. Onto Talladega! Many thanks to Mobil1 and Frameco, our partners whose support is so much appreciated”
World of Westgate 200 Recap:
- Austin Hill scored his sixth-career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 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 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.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After 18 events, Lessard sits 13th in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series point standings, 19 tallies behind Tanner Gray for the 12th position.
Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 CANAC Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1 p.m. ET.