august 22, 2019

And In The Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway on September 1

Raphael Lessard is facing a major challenge this weekend as he races in his last NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race of the season, at the Canadian Motorsport Park road course this coming Sunday. This will be his first race at the legendary high-speed venue, and Raphael Lessard will be learning his trade among some of the best and most experienced driver in Canada and the U.S.A. This is definitely the type of challenge that the young driver enjoys the most.

Learning how to translate oval driving techniques and apply them to a road course layout is no mean feat, as the driver faces new situations on the way to a competitive lap time, where Raphael normally operates in every race. One major characteristic of the legendary CTMP layout is several high-speed "blind corners" where the driver can see only the entry to a corner and must turn in before seeing the entire corner - a sort of act of faith and confidence that he is on the correct trajectory rather than off-line - a very bad thing at high speed.

Great drivers solve this issue by picking off-track reference points to know when to turn into the corner- a post, dark spot on the track, advertising - that will not move during the race (so not a spectator in a bright red shirt!). Raphael's natural talent allows him to absorb these techniques quickly, to the point of becoming instinctive as his race goes on. Having instructors like the Dumoulin brothers and Kyle Busch certainly speeds up this learning process.

"I am really looking forward to running at Mosport for a first time and in my second NASCAR race ever on a road course. I drove in the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres Pinty's race and it went much better than I thought it would. I learned a lot in Trois-Rivieres and will certainly apply all the new knowledge at CTMP and learn a lot more on this high-speed track. The #54 FRL Express truck prepared by DGR-Crosley will be fast and it will be up to me to gain confidence and to up my pace over race distance," Raphael Lessard enthusiastically explains.

Follow the action on Sunday, August 25, 2019, from 9:30 am on FS2 (qualifying) and at 2:30 pm (race) on FS1 & MRN.

Canadian Short Track Nationals - Pro Late Model 250 - KBR Development (August 31 and September 1)

Raphael Lessard will be at the wheel of the #20 Jean-Paul Lessard & Fils |FRL Express car for his second race in the Canadian Short Track Nationals (CSTN), held at the Jukasa Motor Speedway on August 31 and September 1. More than 63 drivers have already entered and will be vying for the $75,000 winner's purse. Qualifying and the race promise to be quite a show.

"It's great to be back at Jukasa with the Michigan-based KBR team. Last year we had the fastest times in both practice sessions, started in fourth place and led several laps during the race. A frustrating slow puncture near the end of the race deprived us of a podium finish. Last year the crew had never seen the track before and we really did quite well, so we will certainly arrive this year even better prepared. We want to qualify well and go all-out for the race from there. As last year, there will certainly be some heavy action on the track, more so given the amazing $75,000 first-place money. This is a race you do not want to miss," said the young driver.

Photo Credit: John Harrelson Photo


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.


2018 - 16 races - Super Late Model with Kyle Busch Motorsports

  • Two wins, seven top-5s and 13 top-10s
  • Wins the U.S. Short Track Nationals race at Bristol Motor Speedway
  • Wins the Red Bull 400 at Anderson Speedway
  • Leads 60 laps at the famous Snowball Derby in December, before a mechanical problem puts him out of the race with only six (6) laps to go.

2017 - Competes in 20 Super Late Model races and two ARCA series races

  • Two wins and eight top-5 finishes in the Super Late Model category
  • A top-10 from two races in the ARCA series
  • Voted the most popular driver in North America by
  • Voted as one of the top 10 drivers to watch in 2017 by
  • Named by Short Track Power Ranking as 7th best driver in the United States

2016 - Participates in 10 races

  • CARS Super Late Model Series Champion
  • Youngest Canadian driver to win a prestigious stock-car series in the United States
  • Four wins, eight top-5s and nine top-10s in 10 races


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.


DGR-Crosley is a race team owned by NASCAR veteran David Gilliland and Crosley Brands CEO, Bo LeMastus. The team specializes in driver development, competing full-time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series and CARS Tour, as well running select ARCA Menards Series and late model races with factory support from Toyota. In its first year of operation, DGR-Crosley won 7 of 14 K&N East races, securing a Driver and Owner Championship. The team operates out of two buildings totaling 55,000 square feet in Mooresville, N.C.


Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius hybrid and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 60 years, we've built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold nearly 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.45 million in the U.S.) in 2016 - and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today.


KBR is a team running the full 2019 ARCA Menards Series, operating out of a 11,000-square-foot headquarters installation in Zeeland, Michigan. KBR works with only the best industry experts and top manufacturers in all aspects of operations. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner Erik Jones, Raphael Lessard, Brandon McReynolds and Carson Hocevar are just a few of the talented drivers to have driven for the team.