NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Overview
Event: KDI Office Technology 200, Race 13 of 23, 200 laps – 45/45/110; 200 miles
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway in Delaware (one-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Aug. 21, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Racing with Raphael
- Raphael Lessard and the No. 4 CANAC team head to Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where the 19-year-old Canadian driver will make his second NASCAR Truck Series start at the facility. Last season, he started seventh and finished 11th. Lessard is coming off a career-best finish of third from the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Road Course. He is in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and is competing for Rookie of the Year honors with veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr.
- So far in 2020, Lessard 12 starts, with an average starting position of 13.4 and an average finishing position of 16.1. The Toyota Racing Development Driver’s season-best finish was last week on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where the rookie driver finished in the third position. He is currently ranked 13th in Gander Trucks driver points standings.
- Lessard made five Gander Trucks starts in 2019, three of those with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Across his five starts, he posted two top-10 finishes while recording an average starting position of 10.4 and average finish of 11.1.Lessard’s strongest run came in his final start of the season when he was running inside the top five with under 30 laps remaining before getting spun and relegated to a 12th-place finish.
- While Lessard may be a newcomer to the Gander Trucks, Hillman Jr. has plenty of experience. The veteran crew chief has 312 Gander Truck Series starts under his belt, with 22 wins, 23 poles, 116 top-five and 172 top-10 finishes with drivers including Todd Bodine, Jeb Burton, Kyle Busch and last season, Harrison Burton. At Dover, Hillman has 13 Gander Trucks starts and his drivers have earned four top-fives, five top-10s, an average start of 10.2 and an average finish of 13.8.
- The Triple Truck Challenge continues this weekend at Dover in the Gander Truck Series. This year’s program consists of the events at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Aug. 21) and Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 30).
- Due to Lessard’s presence in the series, all 23 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series races this season will be broadcast throughout Canada on RDS and RDS DIRECT.
- CANAC is the first independent hardware and building materials store chain to open in Quebec City. Its expertise of over 145 years of experience allows CANAC to perpetuate the spirit of the hardware stores of yesteryear in a modern environment, with qualified personnel trained by its continuing education centre accredited by Emploi-Québec. CANAC serves both individual customers and contractors and offers aggressive prices that defy all competition. Since its acquisition by Groupe Laberge in 1985, the company’s expansion has focused on opening new modern hardware stores and on renovating existing branches to better adapt them to the needs and expectations of consumers. Today, CANAC has 30 branches and employs more than 3,400 part-time and full-time workers.
Raphael Lessard, Driver Q&A
Due to changes in the schedule, this is the first short track race of the season in the truck series. Are you looking forward to getting back to a short track?
“Dover being the first short track this season… well, the first track that you can call a short track. It’s super fast and it races like a mile-and-a-half in traffic. It’s super aero dependent. It’s super hard to pass. We will be starting fifth so that is going to be a plus for us. We’ve been starting mid-pack all year long almost. Starting fifth should be exciting. We will be way closer to the front at the beginning of the race. I’m really looking forward to it. Dover is one of my favorite racetracks. Everything happens really quick. It’s super fast. I’m looking forward to building our momentum coming off my best result of third place at Daytona. We will keep on doing what we are doing and focusing on what we got to do to make it happen.”
Other than the Kansas doubleheader, this is your first time going back to a track for the second time in your truck series career. Will this be the most comfortable you’ve been going into a race?
“Yeah – it’s going to be pretty much in my truck series career, except for the Kansas doubleheader, where I will be going back to a track for the second time. I’m really excited. For sure, I’m a little bit more comfortable going to Dover because I’ve been there before in the truck series, but it’s a whole different year with no practice and no qualifying. It should be interesting. I feel like the last two races that we’ve had really good momentum. The momentum is on our side. We’ve had great finishes. We’re just going to head to Dover like we’ve been doing the past two weeks. I’ve been studying a lot for Dover and trying to get better. I know what I have to do to be better. We are going to keep working hard, and I’m sure my CANAC Toyota Tundra will be great at Dover.
Does having an extra $50,000 on the line in the Triple Truck Challenge from Gander RV & Outdoors motivate you any more than normal?
“Yeah — having $50,000 on the line if you win motivates you a lot. I don’t know if it will all go to me if I win it, but it’s always good motivation. We always want to get the big check. Since I’ve been growing up in super late models, every short track that you would go to that would have a $10,000 purse or anything like this, that’s the one you wanted to win. That is what we are looking forward to doing. We’ve been focusing really hard. We’ve been learning a ton since the beginning of the season. We are getting better as team. We want to win. We are a team capable of winning. I feel like we are heading in the right direction and getting closer and closer every week. I feel like it is going to be a good one at Dover.”
Raphael Lessard Career Highlights:
- Across 17 career Truck Series starts has produced one top-five, four top-10 finishes and an average finish of 14.6.
- In 2019, 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 29 when he led a race-high 153 laps en route to the sentimental win.
- Won two marquee events driving KBM’s famed No. 51 Super Late Model in 2018: the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway in May and the Red Bud 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson Speedway in July.
- Overall in 16 starts for KBM in 2018 split across the CARS Super Late Model Tour, the Southern Super Series and the ARCA/CRA Super Series, posted two wins, three poles, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2018.Started seventh and led 68 laps in the prestigious Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
- 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.
Raphael Lessard’s No. 4 CANAC Tundra:
KBM-059: The No. 4 CANAC team will unload chassis number KBM-059, which has been raced six times. Most recently, Lessard piloted the chassis to a 12th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in June.
KBM Notes of Interest:
- Across 26 starts at Dover, KBM drivers have collected three wins, three poles, 821 laps led, nine top-five and 13top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.6. Owner-driver Kyle Busch has earned all three of his organization’s victories at Dover (2011, 2013 and 2014).
- KBM holds the NGROTS records for most career wins (78) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).