Late-Race Pit Violation Relegates Lessard to 19th-Place Finish at Dover

august 22, 2020

Date: Aug. 21, 2020

Event: KDI Office Technology 200 (Race 13 of 23)

Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS)

Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (one-mile oval)

Format: Three Stages; 45 laps/45 laps/110 laps

Start/Finish: 5th /19th (Running, completed 198 of 200 laps)

Winner: Zane Smith of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)s

Raphael Lessard finished 19th in his second career start at Dover International Speedway. The rookie driver was running in the top-15 prior to a green-flag pit stop in the final stage before he was assessed a pass-through penalty for a commitment line violation. The 19-year-old driver was able to score two stage points after completing the first stage in the ninth position.

Stage One Recap:

  • Raphael Lessard started in the fifth position after a performance matrix based off of finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
  • During the first caution of the day, the rookie driver radioed to his crew that he needed more grip but felt that his No. 4 CANAC Toyota Tundra was getting better as the race progressed.
  • Under the competition caution, Raphael Lessard told his crew that he would drift up from the bottom of the racetrack to get a run on corner exit.
  • Raphael Lessard would finish the stage in the ninth position and score two stage points.

Stage Two Recap:

  • Before the start of Stage Two, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that his CANAC Tundra was "too free." The rookie driver was told that he was overdriving Turn Three based on the team observing broadcast video footage. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his driver to pit lane, and the over-the-wall crew administered a stop consisting of four tires, fuel and adjustments. After the pit stop, Raphael Lessard was told that his tires looked good and that he could push when needed. He would restart in the 13th position to start Stage Two.
  • As the Stage Two went caution free until two laps were remaining Raphael Lessard would fall back a couple spots and finish the stage in the 15th

Final Stage:

  • During the stage caution, Raphael Lessard radioed to his crew that he needed over all grip. The rookie driver was summoned to pit road for four tires and fuel. He would start the stage from the 10th
  • In the middle of the run, the Canadian driver radioed to his crew that his CANAC Tundra continued to lack grip and would get tighter as the run continued.
  • On Lap 166, Raphael Lessard was called to pit road for four tires, fuel, and adjustments; however, coming to pit road, he was issued a commitment line violation and would have to serve a pass-through penalty. He would cycle back to the 18th
  • During the final caution of the day on Lap 194, the rookie driver was called to pit road for adjustments.
  • Raphael Lessard would finish in the 19th

Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 CANAC Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

"It was not the race we wanted at Dover. We had speed when we were by ourselves. We didn't have any grip even when we were fast. We had no grip with those tires. In traffic, we couldn't move around. It was hard. It was a tough race for us. I made a mistake entering pit road. I couldn't get it to turn down the banking when we pitted under green. I had to come back to pit lane. It is what it is! We will focus on Gateway and go win that one."

KDI Office Technology 200 Recap:

  • Zane Smith picked up his second-career victory beating Matt Crafton to the stripe by 0.989 seconds. Brett Moffitt, Todd Gilliland and Ben Rhodes finished in the top-five
  • The race featured five cautions for a total of 27 laps. There were 13 lead changes among 10 drivers.

How Lessard's KBM Teammates Fared:

  • Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 11th.
  • Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 20th.

NGROTS Championship Standings:

After 13 events, Raphael Lessard sits 14th in the NGROTS point standings. The rookie of the year candidate sits 210 tallies behind points leader Austin Hill and 73 points behind Todd Gilliland for the 10th and final playoff spot with three races remaining in the regular season.

Next Race:

Raphael Lessard will be back behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra when the NGROTS resumes action on Sunday, Aug. 30 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Collinsville, Ill. Live coverage will be on RDS, FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at noon ET.

**Press Release prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports

Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography