Raphael Lessard: Driver, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Overview:
Event: NASCAR Hall of Fame 200, Race 22 of 23, 200 laps – 50/50/100; 105.2 miles
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (0.526-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 30, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Racing with Raphael
- Raphael Lessard and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team head to Martinsville Speedway for the penultimate race of the 2020 season. The talented teenager made his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series debut at the Virginia track in March 2019. He earned the seventh starting position finished and would finish in the 14th position after finding it challenging to find the necessary grip in the final stage to work his way into the top-10.
- The 19-year-old Canadian rookie became just the fifth foreign-born driver earn a Gander Trucks victory when he narrowly edged former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne under caution in NASCAR overtime at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 3. Overall, in 2020, Lessard has 21 starts with one win, three top-fives, six top-10s, an average starting position of 13.2 and an average finishing position of 15.5. He scored his career-best mile-and-a-half finish in last Sunday’s SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Lessard started in the 20th position and worked his way through the field to finish fourth.
- The rookie driver has delivered improved finishes in the second half of the season. After posting an average finish of 18.3 and a best result of 11th across the first 10 races of the season, Lessard has improved to an average finish of 13.0 across the last 11 events, including his victory and all six of his top-10 finishes.
- While Lessard may be a newcomer to the Gander Trucks, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. has plenty of experience. The veteran crew chief has 321 Gander Truck Series starts under his belt, with 23 wins, 23 poles, 118 top-five and 176 top-10 finishes with drivers including Todd Bodine, Jeb Burton, Kyle Busch and last season, Harrison Burton. At Martinsville, Hillman has 25 starts, one pole (2013), eight top-fives, 13 top-10s, an average start of 11.7 and an average finish of 10.3. He earned two runner-up finishes, both with Todd Bodine (2007 & 2009).
- Due to Lessard’s presence in the series, all 23 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series races this season will be broadcast throughout Canada on RDS and RDS DIRECT.
- The world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, Mobil 1, features anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond our conventional motor oils. This technology allows Mobil 1 to meet or exceed the toughest standards of car builders and to provide exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even some of the most extreme conditions. Mobil 1 flows quickly in extreme temperatures to protect critical engine parts and is designed to maximize engine performance and help extend engine life.
Raphael Lessard Martinsville Q&A
With no practice or qualifying, how much does it help to be going to Martinsville this week, where you already have a start under your belt instead of a track you haven’t been to before?
“I feel like it is going to help a lot. I ran my first truck race at Martinsville, so I know what to expect a little bit. I’m sure it’s going to be different. It always seems to be a little bit different this year. I’m excited. We are just going to go for it and work on our Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra throughout the race to make it better and be there at the end. I know there is a lot going on at Martinsville during the race. We are going to try to stay on the racetrack and stay clean for the last couple of laps.”
Do you feel that the truck series schedule should have more short tracks?
“For sure. I think we should go to more short tracks. Short tracks are exciting and have a lot of action going on. It’s my background. It’s what I’ve been doing since I started racing. I think it will help me a lot. This year I feel like I was able to perform at bigger racetracks too, but short tracks are something that I always enjoy racing. It’s awesome. I love it. I’m excited.”
How important is it to you to finish out these last two races strong?
“I think it is going to be very important to finish the season strong with two other great finishes because we are working really hard to get something for next year. The better result we get, the better it is for me to get something and get people excited. We are going to work hard. Just like Texas, we will work on it and get better as the race rolls on to be there at the end. I’m excited. I’m sure my Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra will be really good at Martinsville.”
Raphael Lessard Career Highlights:
- Across 26 career Truck Series starts has produced one win, three top-fives, eight top-10 finishes and an average finish of 14.7.
- In 2019, Lessard posted 83 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes across three ARCA Menards Series starts and one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. His Pinty’s Series victory came at his hometown track, Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallee-Jonction, Quebec, on June 29 when he led a race-high 153 laps en route to the sentimental win.
- Won two marquee events driving KBM’s famed No. 51 Super Late Model in 2018: The Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway in May and the Red Bud 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson Speedway in July.
- Overall in 16 starts for KBM in 2018 split across the CARS Super Late Model Tour, the Southern Super Series and the ARCA/CRA Super Series, posted two wins, three poles, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2018.Started seventh and led 68 laps in the prestigious Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
- Captured the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour championship after recording four wins, one pole, 157 laps led, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes across 10 races.
Raphael Lessard’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra:
KBM-035: The No. 4 Mobil 1 team will unload chassis number KBM-035, which has been raced 16 times. Most recently, Lessard piloted the chassis to a 26th-place finish earlier this season at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. The Tundra’s lone victory came with Daniel Suarez behind the wheel in November of 2016 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway.
KBM-035 Performance Profile:
KBM Notes of Interest:
KBM drivers have collected eight wins, five poles, 962 laps led, 22 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.6 across 54 starts at Martinsville.
Todd Gilliland picked up the organization’s most recent victory at the 0.526-mile oval last October. Kyle Busch (2017 & 2019). Denny Hamlin (2011 & 2012) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (2013 & 2014) have also each collected two victories while Noah Gragson (2017) has one win.
KBM holds the NGROTS records for most career wins (80) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).