Raphael Lessard Gets Spun While Running Up Front Late at Martinsville

Raphael Lessard looked to score his second victory of 2020 in the closing laps of the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville. The solid run was spoiled when Ben Rhodes made contact with the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra shortly after the rookie driver restarted from the lead late and spun the rookie driver in Turn 1. The incident collected Brett Moffitt and created substantial damage to the No. 4 Tundra.

The 19-year-old driver brought his Tundra to the attention of the over-the-wall crew for substantial repairs in order to complete the closing laps. Lessard was able to nurse his way through the final three laps to a 20th-place finish at the short track.
Despite the finish, Lessard was credited with leading ten laps.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Lessard started in the 10th position after a performance matrix based off of finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race at Texas Motor Speedway.
  • Under the first caution flag of the race on Lap 14, Lessard radioed to his crew that he felt like he had a flat tire during the run. As the field was running behind the pace car, the crew assessed the situation and did not find any flat tires. Under the caution, the rookie driver was told to make sure he gets enough heat in the tires. Lessard would restart in the 13th position.
  • Lessard would finish the stage in the ninth position. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • At the stage break, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 Tundra was loose everywhere. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel, and an adjustment to tighten up the Tundra. Lessard would start the second stage in the 11th position.
  • With the third caution of the day flying on Lap 79, Lessard was running in the ninth position when Hillman summoned him to pit road for four tires, fuel, and adjustments. After the stop, the talented teenager was asked to save his tires and equipment as the team was going to stay out at the stage break. Lessard would restart in the 14th position.
  • When the fourth caution flew on Lap 92, Lessard was running sixth and radioed to his crew that he was still sliding his right-front tire. He would restart from the sixth position for a two-lap shootout to the stage break.
  • Lessard finished the stage in the fourth position. 
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Under the break, Lessard radioed to the Mobil 1 crew that he was still tight. The rookie driver stayed out under the break and would restart in the third position.
  • After a six-lap run, Lessard worked his way up to second when the sixth caution flew and would restart in that position when the race went back green on Lap 127.
  • Lessard fell back to the fourth position when the seventh caution flew on Lap 155. He was summoned to pit road for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. He would restart in the ninth position.
  • After maneuvering through two cautions, Lessard would gain the race lead on Lap 182. He would lead for 10 consecutive laps before contact with Ben Rhodes and Brett Moffitt on Lap 193 sent him for a spin.
  • Lessard would finish in the 20th position, one lap down.