Difficult Race For Raphael Lessard at Las Vegas

march 5, 2021

"I made a mistake and I apologize to the other victims.

Let's move on to Atlanta and get back to racing!"

Date: March 5, 2021

Event: Bucked Up 200 (race 3 of 22)

Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5 mile oval)

Stages: At laps 30 |30 | 74

Start/Result: 13th | 30th (completed 130 of the 134-lap race)

Winner: John Hunter Nemechek from Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)

After starting from the 13th spot aboard his Silverado #24 Camping World truck, Raphael Lessard had to fight with a serious oversteer problem over the first two stages. After stops at the pits at the end of the first two stages, the 19-year-old driver now had a truck that was handling properly and was in an excellent 9th spot for the restart of the final stage. Bad luck struck when an eager crew member had jumped over the wall too early on that stop and Raphael Lessard had to restart at the back of the lead pack, in 23rd place. He then set off from deep in the pack on one of his usual runs through the field, hopefully up to what could have been a top-10 result. However, he caused an incident on lap 96 that heavily damaged his truck and left him 30th in the end.

The Race From the Driver's Seat

"I felt that the truck was not working well right from the start. Handling was good at the bottom of the track, but turbulence and a bad oversteer pushed me up the track and forced me to slow down in the middle of the corner, which ruined my corner exits. I finished the first stage in 20th position and the second in 16th despite the suspension modifications and other adjustments made by the crew in the pits at the end of stages 1 and 2," explained the Silverado #24 Camping World driver.

"The truck was working better and better in the third stage and I was pushing hard to gain positions. With 38 laps to go, I hit David Gilliland who was running on my inside, and lost control. It was my mistake and I apologize to the other victims of the incident," concluded a driver disappointed with his mistake that cost him dearly.

Next Race - Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20, 2021

After this difficult race, Raphael Lessard and his Silverado #24 from the GMS Racing team move on to the Atlanta Motor Speedway (Hampton, Georgia), another fast 1.5-mile oval similar to the Las Vegas Speedway, for the March 20 running of the FRB Auctions 200.

Raphael Lessard and the NCWTS

After five (5) races in NASCAR trucks in 2019, Raphael Lessard competed in all 23 races of the NCWTS in 2020, his first full season at that level. His first 10 races of 2020 served him well as he worked hard with a professional team, and against seasoned drivers.

He learned more advanced driving techniques from these experienced drivers as well as from his Spotter: learning new track quickly without a pre-race test or qualifying session, watching their driving trajectories and test new ones for himself as the track changes over the course of the race, managing downforce and turbulence, overtaking more effectively and protecting your position in the race, adapting to handling defects and adjusting his driving during a run, communicating effectively with the team during a run to describe any problems, managing front/rear braking distribution during a run, managing tire wear to optimize their performance at the end of the race and working in unison with team members during a pit stop.

The effects of this learning were clearly visible over the second half of the 2020 season, as Raphael Lessard caught and worked his way to the leaders several times to put himself in a position to win, as he did at Talladega, and accumulating four top-5 and seven top-10 finishes over the course of the season.

Raphael Lessard career highlights

Right from his start on the track at age 11, Raphael Lessard has raced throughout the Eastern Canada and then on to the United States, establishing a solid reputation as a driver to watch along the way.

In 2020, the young Beauceron decided to leap into professional racing and competed in all 23 races of the NCWTS series (formerly the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks Series). In 28 starts (five in 2019) in NCWTS trucks, Raphael Lessard has won one race, finished four times in the top-5 (two podiums), and nine times in the top-10, giving him an average finish of 14.5.

In 2019, Raphael Lessard led 83 race laps, finished twice in the top-5 and three times in the top-10 in three starts in the ARCA Menards Series. He earned a win, a top five and two top10 finishes in the NASCAR Pinty's series. His NASCAR Pinty's series win came on his home track, Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée-Jonction (Quebec, Canada), on June 29, after leading 153 of 300 laps on the way to an emotional win.

He also won two important Super Late Model Series races in 2018, including the U.S. National Short Track Championship at Bristol Motor Speedway in May, and the ARCA/CRA Super Series Red Bud 400 race at Anderson Speedway in July.

In 2016, Raphael Lessard won the CARS Tour Super Late Model Championship after recording four wins, one pole, leading 157 laps and finishing with eight top-five and nine top-ten finishes out of 10 races.

2021 Season - GMS Racing - NCWTS






Laps Led


Driver Pts./Pos.

Friday, February 12







33 / 8

Friday, February 19

Daytona (road)






46 / 7

Friday, March 5

Las Vegas






61 / 15

Saturday, March 20


Photo : GMS Racing




Chad Walter takes over as Crew Chief and Tyler Monn will act as Spotter for Raphael Lessard in 2021. Chad Walter has won five (5) races in 208 Xfinity starts as a Crew Chief. He led Tyler Ankrum to a spot in the 2020 playoffs in his first season as an NCWTS crew Chief. Tyler Monn, while still below 30, impressed key staff at Hendrick Motorsports last season. This year, he moves up the ladder as Kyle Larson's spotter in the Cup Series as well as working with Raphael Lessard in NCWTS and making for an ideal scenario for the young driver's second year of development.


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 tractors-trailer outfits. 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.