Raphael Lessard Continues To Learn, Finishes 12th at Texas

Raphael Lessard made his way as far up as the sixth position and ultimately finished 12th in Saturday’s night’s Vankor 350 at Texas Motor Speedway after starting the day from the 16th position.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Lessard started in the 16th position after a random draw in tiers based on the 2020 Gander Trucks owner’s points. The opening stage would stay under green flag conditions for 40 laps. During the run Lessard was told to try to carry more speed into Turn One.
  • Lessard would finish Stage One in the 13th position. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Before the start of Stage Two, Lessard radioed to his crew that his JBL Toyota Tundra was tight from the center of the corner to the exit, while also mentioning the difficulty of passing. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called the 19-year-old driver down pit lane and the over-the-wall crew administered a four tire and fuel stop. After the stop, Lessard was told to continue to work on his entry into Turn One but to be smart about it. He would restart from the ninth position.
  • When the second caution of the night fell on Lap 63, Lessard was running in the 10th position. He mentioned that he was too loose through the center then tight coming off Turns One and Two, while he was hitting the splitter or side skirt in Turns Three and Four. Hillman kept the rookie driver on the racetrack when pit road was open due to the tire allotment for the event. Lessard’s spotter told him to work on his positioning in the turns. He would restart from the ninth position.
  • During the third caution of the night on Lap 76, Lessard radioed to his crew that he was free in traffic especially in Turns One and Two. Hillman Jr. called the rookie driver down pit road and the over-the-wall crew administered a pit stop of four tires, fuel and adjustments. Lessard would restart in the 16th position.
  • The race went back green on Lap 78. Lessard would finish the stage in the 12th position. 
Final Stage:
  • During the caution, Lessard was asked to save fuel under the caution as the team would pit one more time for the night. Lessard would restart in the sixth position
  • On Lap 119, Lessard radioed to the crew that he was beginning to experience a right-front tire vibration and that his Toyota Tundra was tight off Turn Two, On Lap 125, Lessard dived down the pit lane under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel. When green flag pit stops cycled, Lessard was scored in the 14th position.
  • When the fifth and final caution of the night flew on Lap 154, Lessard radioed that he was good on the bottom of Turns One and Two, tight on exit in Turn Two, and tight overall in Turns Three and Four. He would restart in the 11th position.
  • Lessard would finish the day at Texas Motor Speedway in the 12th position.