Date: July 25, 2020
Event: e.p.t 200 (Race 10 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 16th/11th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: Matt Crafton of Thorsport Racing (Ford)
Raphael Lessard rebounded from a late-race tire issue that caused his No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra to spin late in the race to equal his season-best result with an 11th-place finish in the e.p.t 200 at Kansas Speedway.
Stage One Recap:
- Lessard started in the 16th after a top-15 invert was established after last night’s event at Kansas Speedway. In the opening stage, Lessard radioed to his crew that he was really tight off the corner.
- Lessard would finish Stage One in the ninth position and score two stage points.
Stage Two Recap:
- Before the start of Stage Two, Lessard radioed to his crew that he first started the opening stint being free on entry, but as the run continued, the Mobil 1 Tundra turned tight. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned the rookie driver down pit road and the over-the-wall crew administered a four tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment. Lessard would restart in the 12th position.
- During the second caution of the day on Lap 44, the rookie driver was running 13th and radioed to his crew that he found something while running the bottom groove. He would restart from the 12th position
- Lessard would finish the second stage in the 16th position.
- During the stage caution, Lessard communicated to Hillman Jr. that he couldn’t work the top lane but wanted to work the bottom lane. The rookie was summoned down pit road for four tires and fuel. He would restart from the 14th position.
- The fourth caution of the day flew on Lap 74 as Lessard had worked his way to the 12th position. He radioed to his crew that his truck was running better at the top.
- Under the fifth caution of the day on Lap 79, the rookie driver mentioned that he felt that his truck was the “best that it’s been.” He stayed out and would restart from the eighth position.
- Under the sixth caution on Lap 84, Lessard radioed to his crew that he wanted a little bit more of the previous adjustments. Under the red flag, Lessard and the team debated on whether to pit or not, and eventually decided to come down pit road for four tires and fuel. He would restart from the 11th position.
- Under the seventh caution of the day on Lap 95, the Mobil 1 Tundra stayed out and restarted from the 12th position.
- Four laps prior to spinning in Turn One to bring out the eighth caution, Lessard radioed to his crew that he had a left-front tire rub. The rookie driver was summoned to pit road to change only the left side tires in an effort to stay on the lead lap. After staying on the lead lap, Hillman summoned the rookie down pit road for four tires. Lessard received a penalty for pitting too soon and would restart at the tail of the field in the 21st position.
- Lessard worked his way up to the 17th position before the final caution of the day flew on Lap 109. Under the caution, the rookie driver was reminded to watch where he begins to pass on the restart.
- Lessard would rebound in the final run of the day to pass several trucks and finish in the 11th position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil1 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
“Well, the race is over. It was not exactly the race we wanted, but we were better than yesterday. Our truck was way better to compete with those guys up front. We were just missing the opportunity. Every time we were coming through the field and making moves in the top-10, I felt like we would have a restart and do it all over again. Someone made contact with us at the end and we got a flat tire with 20 laps to go. We came back for an 11th place finish. You know what, we are getting better and better! I’m getting more comfortable. My crew chief Mike (Hillman Jr.) made some good adjustments all race long. I felt like I could feel those adjustments and feel the truck getting better and better, so that was a really positive thing for the day. We will keep on working. I look forward to going to Michigan and being even better there.”
e.p.t. 350 Recap:
- Matt Crafton picked up his first victory of the 2020 season beating Christian Eckes by 0.324 seconds. Grant Enfinger, Tanner Gray and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five.
How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished second
- Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished eighth.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After 10 events, Lessard ranks 15th in the Gander Trucks championship standings. The rookie of the year candidate sits 177 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 on Friday, August 7, 2020, at Michigan International Speedway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 6 p.m. ET.