Raphael Lessard Triumphs at Talladega for First Career Victory

Raphael Lessard, a 19-year-old Canadian driver, captured his first career Gander Trucks victory in Saturday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway narrowly edging former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne after a caution occurred on the final lap of the event. Lessard became the fifth foreign-born driver to win a Gander Trucks race.
This was Lessard’s first victory and fifth top-10 finish of the 2020 season. The rookie driver currently sits 12th in points.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Lessard started in the 15th position after a performance matrix based off finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
  • When the first caution flew on Lap 14, Lessard was in the 11th position. Veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called his rookie driver down pit road for a fuel-only stop. The rookie driver would restart in the 23rd position.
  • Lessard would finish the stage in the 14th position. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • At the stage break, Lessard radioed to his crew he was ready to make some moves on the racetrack. Hillman kept the CANAC Tundra on the racetrack. Lessard would restart from the second position.
  • The second stage would finish under the caution, and Lessard was scored in the 12th position. 
Final Stage: 
  • During the stage caution, Lessard radioed to his crew that his CANAC Tundra needed more stability in the rear. As the leaders pitted, Hillman kept his driver on the racetrack to pit on the next lap to avoid possibly getting wrecked on pit road. The over-the-wall crew performed a four-tire and fuel stop. The rookie driver came back down pit road with one lap remaining under the caution to top off with fuel. Lessard would restart in the 25th position.
  • With the fourth caution falling on Lap 49, Lessard was scored in the 22nd position. Lessard came down under the caution for fuel but was caught speeding on pit road. Like the last caution, Lessard came back down pit road with one lap remaining until the green to top off with fuel. The CANAC driver would restart at the tail of the field.
  • On Lap 66, Lessard was summoned to pit road under green-flag conditions for a fuel-only stop.
  • At the fifth and final caution on Lap 90, Lessard was scored in the third position and was told to stay out.
  • As the field began wrecking down the backstretch, Lessard was running in the second position. By the time NASCAR threw the caution for the accident, Lessard had maneuvered the CANAC Tundra one-half a truck ahead of Trevor Bayne to earn his first career victory in the Gander Trucks.