Event: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 200, Race 11 of 23
100 laps – 20/20/60; 200 miles
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (Two-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Aug. 7, 2020 at 6 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
Racing with Raphael:
Raphael Lessard and the No. 4 SiriusXM team head to Michigan International Speedway, where the 19-year-old Canadian driver will make his first start in the NASCAR Truck Series at the two-mile oval. He is in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and is competing for Rookie of the Year honors with veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr.
So far in 2020, Lessard has 10 starts, with an average starting position of 14.0 and an average finishing position of 18.3. The Toyota Racing Development Driver’s season-best finish was an 11th-place result at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway and equaled it at Kansas Speedway July 25 in the series last start. He is currently ranked 15th in Gander Trucks driver points standings and fifth in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
Lessard made five Gander Trucks starts in 2019, three of those with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Across his five starts, he posted two top-10 finishes while recording an average starting position of 10.4 and average finish of 11.1. Lessard’s strongest run with KBM came in his final start of the season at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway when he was running inside the top five with under 30 laps remaining before getting spun and relegated to a 12th-place finish.
While Lessard may be a newcomer to the Gander Trucks, Hillman Jr. has plenty of experience. The veteran crew chief has 310 Gander Truck Series starts under his belt, with 22 wins, 23 poles, 115 top-five and 170 top-10 finishes with drivers including Todd Bodine, Jeb Burton, Kyle Busch and last season, Harrison Burton. At Michigan, Hillman has 13 Gander Trucks starts and his drivers have earned one pole, 125 laps led, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes, with an average start of 7.0 and an average finish of 8.8. His best result was a runner-up finish with Bodine in 2010.
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.
Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) is the leading audio entertainment company in the U.S., and the premier programmer and platform for subscription- and digital advertising-supported audio products. Pandora, a subsidiary of SiriusXM, is the largest ad-supported audio entertainment streaming service in the U.S. SiriusXM and Pandora together reach more than 100 million people each month with their audio products.
Are you looking forward to having four races in the month of August and being in your Tundra every weekend?
“Yeah, I am really looking forward to August and being in the truck every weekend. It’s going to be awesome. That’s what we want. We want to race. We want to race every bit of the week if we can. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We have a lot of good racetracks coming up. We have Daytona. It’s going to be very interesting. Nobody has been there before. It’s going to be pretty fun. At Michigan this weekend, we are excited. I feel like we are getting better as a team. I’m getting better. We are still not where we want to be, but we are working hard for it, trying to be faster, and try to figure out what we need to be better at. I’m excited and hopefully we can get the SiriusXM colors up front this weekend.”
In preparing for Michigan with it being a two-mile track, do you feel like the racing will be similar to mile-and-a-half racing, superspeedway racing, or a little of each?
“With Michigan being a two-mile racetrack, I feel like it is going to be a little bit like a superspeedway maybe on the straightaway and in traffic. I feel like it is going to be like a mile-and-a-half racetrack with the aero. I’m ready for it. I studied a lot of video. I have been on the TRD simulator. I feel like I’ve studied everything I could. Now, it’s time to apply what I’ve learned and apply it to its best during the race on Friday. We should have a really good SirusXM Toyota Tundra. I’m really excited and ready to get back behind the wheel.”
Raphael Lessard Career Highlights:
Across 15 career Truck Series starts has produced two top-10 finishes and an average finish of 15.9.
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 SiriusXM Tundra:
KBM-54: The No. 4 SiriusXM team will unload chassis number KBM-054, which has been raced six times. Most recently, Raphael Lessard piloted the chassis earlier this year to a 13th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!