Raphael Lessard announced last Sunday on a popular talk-show, Tout le Monde en Parle, that Canac, a Quebec-based retail store chain specialized in building and hardware products, was returning as a partner with his team for the 2021 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). In a repetition of the successful 2020 program, the Canac banner will be displayed as the main partner on Raphael Lessard’s #24 Chevrolet truck, among others, at two of the most important races on the calendar: the season opener at Daytona (February 12 – Florida) and the Talladega Super Oval round (October 2 – Alabama). The Talladega event bears a special significance for Raphael Lessard and Canac, as he won a historic victory there in their colors on last October 3rd.
Canac’s contribution to the project is an important part of the Raphael Lessard Racing total budget that is required to complete a full 22-race 2021 season as part of a winning team such as GMS Racing.
Jean Laberge, President of Groupe Laberge, the owners of Canac, explains the reasons why the company decided to continue their partnership with Raphael Lessard:
“We were pleased with his performance in 2020. He has grown and gained a great deal of experience over the season despite the difficulties he encountered, such as no practice or qualifying on many tracks he had never seen before. He proved to us that he has an enormous talent and that he will go far in racing. We didn’t expect the Talladega victory, and it came very late in the season. This was a great achievement for him. For us, it had a big impact at many levels, seeing him standing on the Canac-lettered truck with the checkered flag held high had a major impact on our business, and we are very proud of that.”
“The program provided us with good visibility. In fact, we didn’t think it would be this good,” continued Mr. Laberge. “It’s hard for us to quantify that increased exposure, but we got positive feedback from TV exposure, from social networks and in stores, where several customers told us they were happy that we were partners with the youngster. This helped in us taking our decision to come back for a second year. In addition, we wanted to encourage this young athlete for another year. We think 2021 is a pivotal year for him. With a great team like GMS on board, he is in good hands to achieve a great season, one that will help him in on his way to a professional career in racing.”
Canac’s decision to return for a second season confirms the quality of the work accomplished by Raphael Lessard and his team in 2020, both in terms of his performance and in the effectiveness of the message disseminated on their behalf, while confirming Raphael’s potential in all aspects of his career.
“I am proud to represent Canac in 2021. I want to win again with them! We are grateful for all the support they have given us in 2020. Our goal is to build a win-win partnership over the long term. We hope that other companies will join the team and also take part in our racing effort over the 22-race season,” says Raphael Lessard.
Raphael Lessard Career Highlights:
Since his on-track debut at the age of 11, Raphael Lessard has raced throughout eastern Canada and the United States, establishing a solid reputation as a driver to watch. In 2020, the young Beauceron decided to make the jump into a professional series by participating in the 23 races of the NCWTS series (previously NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series).
Raphael Lessard ended his 2020 season on a high note, accumulating in the second half of the season one win, four top-5 and six top-10 finishes. In addition, he managed to improve from his starting to his finishing position in the incident-free races by 67 places, compared to 14 places in the first eight races of the season.
In 2019, Raphael 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 29th when he led a race-high 153 laps en route to an emotional win.
The young driver won two marquee events in 2018 aboard KBM’s famed No. 51 Super Late Model: The U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway in May and the Red Bud 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson Speedway in July. Raphael Lessard also 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.
CANAC is the first independent hardware and building materials store chain to open in Quebec City. Its expertise of over 145 years of experience allows CANAC to perpetuate the spirit of the hardware stores of yesteryear in a modern environment, with qualified personnel trained by its continuing education centre accredited by Emploi-Québec. CANAC serves both individual customers and contractors and offers aggressive prices that defy all competition. Since its acquisition by Groupe Laberge in 1985, the company’s expansion has focused on opening new modern hardware stores and on renovating existing branches to better adapt them to the needs and expectations of consumers. Today, CANAC has 30 branches and employs more than 3,400 part-time and full-time workers.
GMS Racing competes full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with drivers Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, Tyler Ankrum and Chase Purdy. The team also competes in the ARCA Racing Series with Jack Wood. Since the team began in 2014, GMS Racing won the 2016 and 2020 Camping World Trucks Championship, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series championship as well as the 2019 & 2020 ARCA East Championship. GMS has grown to occupy several buildings located in Statesville, N.C. The campus also includes operations for GMS Fabrication. More information can be found at gmsracing.net
ABOUT FRL EXPRESS Inc.
F.R.L. Express Inc. is a general transportation company founded in 2004 by François Lessard. Its main field of activity over the last 15 years is general transport in closed trailers over short and long distances in Canada and the United States. FRL currently have about 50 employees in addition to about ten tow carriers. FRL owners are proud of the progress made in recent years thanks to the FRL team members and wishes to continue on this positive note. “Our employees, customer service and satisfaction are our priorities. We are all proud to be partners in the success and achievements of our son Raphael Lessard,” state the proud parents.
ABOUT RAPHAEL LESSARD
Born on July 5, 2001, in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Raphael Lessard is one of the most promising prospects in North American oval racing. Raphael made his debut in stock-cars in 2013, on local tracks in the Quebec City area. His exceptional talent quickly allowed him to climb the ladder and attract the attention of David Gilliland, a former NASCAR Monster Energy Series driver and now a team owner, in 2015. An agreement then allowed Lessard to participate in the last four races of the season in the PASS North Tour Series.
In 2016, his first full-time season with Gilliland Racing, Lessard won the CARS Super Late Model Tour title with four wins, 8 top five and 9 top drivers to win a major stock car series title in the United States. Since 2016, Lessard has been part of the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) prestigious driver development program. To date, he is the only Canadian to have been recruited into this program.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!