Raphael Lessard finished the 2020 season at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night with the fourth top-five finish of his rookie campaign. Veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his rookie driver to the pit lane for two tires before the final restart in NASCAR Overtime. Lessard restarted in the 10th position but worked his way up to fifth in the two-lap dash to the finish.
Lessard and the No. 4 team ended the 2020 season 12th in points.
Stage One Recap:
· Lessard started in the 13th position after a performance matrix based on finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
· As the opening stage staying green from start to finish, Lessard was able to work his way to the 11th position at the stage break.
Stage Two Recap:
· During the stage break, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 Tundra needed more overall grip and that he was still learning the racetrack. 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 from the 11th position.
· On Lap 68, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Tundra was sliding the right-front tire.
· With the second stage staying green, Lessard finished the stage in the eighth position.
Final Stage Recap:
· Under the break, Lessard radioed to the Mobil 1 crew that his Tundra fired off good and that he was tight from the center off in the corner. Hillman summoned his driver to pit road as the over-the-wall crew administered a stop consisting of four tires, fuel and an adjustment to the rear jack bolt to free up the Tundra. The rookie driver would restart in the eighth position.
· At the third caution of the day on Lap 105, Lessard was running in the 10th position. Under the caution, he radioed to his crew that his Tundra was “wrecking loose.” Hillman kept his rookie driver out on the track.
· At the fourth and final caution of the evening, Lessard was running in the 11th position. With most of the top competitors pitting, Hillman summoned his driver to pit road for tires and fuel.
· Lessard would restart in the 10th position, but over the final two laps would make his way forward to the fifth position.
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports
It was a good day and you made some moves on that final restart to get a top-five. How was your day?
“It was pretty good. It was my first time here at Phoenix. I have never seen the track before, so it was a little bit of learning at first. I think I got used to it really quick. We stayed in the top-10 most of the race. We got both sides. We were pretty good and couldn’t really make moves because it was so hard to pass, and I was still learning the racetrack. Then we got to the last stage, we got way too free. We were super loose, but we kept fighting and trying to pass people. Then the caution came out and we had the green-white-checkered. We came in and put on two right-side tires, and we fired off on the last restart and we got everything we could get. We finished with a good top-five I feel like that is pretty good for my first time here. I’m just glad we got to run this year with everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota, TRD. It’s been an awesome year and CANAC, they’ve been a huge help for me this year. I’m just proud to have driven a full season and have a win in the Truck Series.”
Lucas Oil 150 Recap:
· Sheldon Creed earned the 2020 Truck Series championship with his fifth victory of 2020 beating Zane Smith to the line by 0.617 seconds. Chandler Smith, Christian Eckes and Lessard round out the top five.
· There were eight lead changes among five different drivers. There were four cautions for 28 laps.
How Lessard’s KBM Teammates Fared:
· Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished third.
· Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished fourth.
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
After 23 events, Lessard will finish the 2020 season 12th in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series point standings.