Date: July 24, 2020
Event: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 (Race 9 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 12th/16th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: Austin Hill of Hattori Racing Enterprises (Toyota)
Raphael Lessard started 12th and finished 16th in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at Kansas Speedway. Lessard battled a loose-handling Mobil 1 Tundra throughout the 134-lap event. Based on his 16th-place result in tonight’s race, the 19-year-old Canadian driver will line up 16th for tomorrow’s race, which begins at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Stage One Recap:
- Lessard started in the 12th position after a random draw in tiers based on the 2020 Gander Trucks owner’s points. During the first 20 laps run prior to the first caution, the Toyota Development Driver was free everywhere when running by himself on the racetrack and tight on the top side of the racetrack when in traffic. During that first caution, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called his rookie driver down pit road and the over-the-wall crew would administer a two-tire stop. He would restart in the 13th position.
- Lessard would finish Stage One in the 11th position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Before the start of Stage Two, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra was tighter overall. Due to pitting less than ten laps prior to the stage break, Lessard stayed on the racetrack and restarted from the third position. Under the caution, he was told to run his left side tires on the top seam in the turns because it would help him protect the top lane.
- With four laps remaining in the stage, Lessard radioed to his crew that he had no grip.
- The rookie driver would finish the stage in the 16th position.
- During the caution, Lessard was called down pit road for four tires and fuel. He would restart from the eighth position.
- During the fourth caution of the night, Lessard was running in the ninth position and radioed that he felt that the right-rear tire lacked grip. Hillman called his rookie down pit road and the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire stop in what would be the final pit stop of the night. Lessard would restart from the 11th position.
- On Lap 100, Lessard radioed in that he was doing everything he can but his Mobil 1 Tundra was too loose. Thirteen laps later, he radioed that he was searching to find grip on the racetrack.
- When the checkered flag flew, Lessard was scored in the 16th position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
“Well, it was not the night we wanted at all. We were very, very loose. Just way too loose, especially on long runs. I felt like on short runs I could keep up with them, but as we run, it would just get super free on me. We will get better for tomorrow. We will work on it. We’ll talk with the team and my crew chief Mike Hillman. We will just try to get it tomorrow. It is going to be a different temperature tomorrow. I think the truck will handle a little bit differently. I’m just ready to get back at it tomorrow.”
Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 Recap:
- Austin Hill scored his first win of 2020 by 2.928 seconds over Brett Moffitt. Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton and Derek Kraus rounded out the top-five.
- The race featured four cautions for a total of 19 laps. There were 16 lead changes among eight drivers.
How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 13th.
- Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 14th.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After nine events, Lessard ranks 15th in the Gander Trucks championship standings. The rookie of the year candidate sits 170 tallies behind points leader Austin Hill.
Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action on Saturday, July 25 at Kansas Speedway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1:30 p.m. ET