NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Overview:
Event: World of Westgate 200, Race 18 of 23 (Race 2 in the Round of 10), 134 Laps – 30/30/74; 201 Miles
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Sept. 25, 2020 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Racing with Raphael
- Raphael Lessard and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the second time in 2020. Earlier this season, Lessard was relegated to a 30th-place finish. During the second stage break, veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called his rookie driver down pit road for four tires and fuel, but the lug nuts on one wheel were not tightened enough. Lessard was called back down pit road to rectify the issue. Despite starting 20th in the final stage, Lessard worked his way through the field to return into the top-10 by Lap 84. By Lap 90, Lessard lost control of his Tundra and tagged the wall, which caused the No. 4 team to retire from the race.
- Despite making his first career mile-and-a-half start earlier this season, the talented teenager now has eight starts on these type of tracks. He has an average finish of 15.7 with a career-best finish of 11th twice; at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in June and in the second race at Kansas Speedway in July.
- So far in 2020, Lessard has 17 starts in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series with an average starting position of 12.8 and an average finishing position of 15.8. His season-best finish was on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where the rookie driver finished in the third position.
- Lessard made five Gander Trucks starts in 2019, three of those with 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 at Bristol Motor Speedway 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, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. has plenty of experience. The veteran crew chief has 317 Gander Truck Series starts under his belt, with 22 wins, 23 poles, 116 top-five and 174 top-10 finishes with drivers including Todd Bodine, Jeb Burton, Kyle Busch and last season, Harrison Burton. At Las Vegas, Hillman Jr has 14 career starts, two wins (Todd Bodine, 2005; Kyle Busch, 2018), seven top-fives, nine top-10s, an average start of 5.1 and an average finish of 10.6. Drivers under Hillman’s leadership have led 267 laps.
- 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.
- The world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, Mobil 1, features anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond our conventional motor oils. This technology allows Mobil 1 to meet or exceed the toughest standards of car builders and to provide exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even some of the most extreme conditions. Mobil 1 flows quickly in extreme temperatures to protect critical engine parts and is designed to maximize engine performance and help extend engine life.
- The No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra will be carrying a new associate partner, Frameco, for the Las Vegas event. Frameco has been manufacturing and distributing axles, trailer parts and tanks for electrical transformers for 40 years and will adorn the bedtop of Lessard’s Toyota.
Raphael Lessard, Driver Q&A
Does going back to a track where you went to earlier in the year and were able to practice at help as you prepare for this week’s race at Las Vegas?
“Going to Vegas, a track that I’ve had practice at before, is going to help. I feel like we were really good. It was my first mile-and-a-half at the beginning of the year. We were pretty fast until I made a mistake and wrecked. It’s part of it, but now, I feel like I’ve learned a lot throughout the season. If we have a good Toyota Tundra, then we will be really fast. I’m excited for it. It’s fun to have a new sponsor onboard, Frameco. There’s going to be CANAC and Mobil 1 on the truck as well. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”
Is Vegas similar to the other 1.5-mile tracks on the truck schedule, or does it have its own unique characteristics?
“I don’t think Vegas is similar to any other racetrack we go to. Driving wise and aero wise, it is similar to other 1.5-mile tracks. The racetrack is really cool because you can move around. I remember running the top all the way down to the white line at the bottom. It is a fast racetrack. It’s pretty aero sensitive, but you can look around and find grip. It’s really fun when there is a lot of grip. I’m excited for it. We’re going to go out there and do our best to bounce back from the last two races where luck hasn’t been on our side. We are going to get it b ack and keep on working.”
Raphael Lessard Career Highlights:
- Across 22 career Truck Series starts has produced one top-five, six top-10 finishes and an average finish of 14.7.
- 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 Mobil 1 Tundra:
KBM-054: The No. 4 Mobil 1 team will unload chassis number KBM-054, which has been raced seven times. Most recently, Lessard piloted the chassis to a seventh-place finish at Michigan International Raceway in August. Owner-driver Kyle Busch won with this Tundra at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in July of 2018.
KBM Notes of Interest:
- Across 33 starts at Las Vegas, KBM drivers have collected four wins (Erik Jones: 2014; Kyle Busch: 2018, 2019 2020), four poles (Kyle Busch: 2018, 2019; Noah Gragson: 2019; Christian Eckes: 2019), 11 top-fives, 17 top-10s, 540 laps led, an average start of 7.8, and an average finish of 12.3.
- KBM holds the NGROTS records for most career wins (79) 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).