Winchester, Indiana, October 15, 2018 – Raphaël Lessard didn’t succeed during the 47th running of the Winchester 400, at the Winchester Speedway in Indiana, this past Sunday. However, the Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce native had an excellent car for this race which attracted the best stock-car drivers in America, but three flat tires prevented Lessard from triumphing.
The #51 FRL Express/Mobil 1/Toyota prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) ran the best lap time during practice, so the team was optimistic for a good result in qualifying. But a suspension failure stopped Lessard from clocking a good time, placing him 24th on the starting grid.
Taking the start from the back of the field, Lessard had a difficult race, which had many neutralisations, and even red flags. Having an excellent start, the young Toyota Racing Development driver was climbing back up the field, but a flat tire put an end to an eventual podium finish and a victory.
“As soon as the first flat tire occurred, we fell five laps behind. At this point, it didn’t look good for the remaining 350 laps,” said Raphaël. “However, I had an excellent car all race long, and I couldn’t have asked for more from Kyle Busch Motorsports.”
A little over the halfway point, Raphaël’s luck didn’t improve as he got another flat tire, and then the last one close to the end of the event, put an end to his effort. “We were short on luck this weekend. We can’t do anything about those three flat tires. I went back out after the third one but I came back on pit road because I didn’t want to be in the leader’s way.”
Although Raphaël ended this race in 10th place, with 386 laps completed out of 400, he can still rejoice to the fact that he was one of the fastest drivers on the track. “We were very fast, but because of the flat tires, we didn’t have enough time to make our way up the field. All I had to do was survive and pass the other cars. I managed to gain back two laps, but I lost them.”
“I want to thank my parents, my sponsors FRL Express, Mobil 1 and Toyota, and Kyle Busch Motorsports. I also need to thank the investors in my limited partnership, and all the fans who came out to watch the race at the Cage-Brasserie Sportive and the Resto L’Express yesterday afternoon.”
Next race on the calendar:
Raphaël Lessard’s next race will be on November 4 at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee.