Major disappointment for Lessard’s clan and Venturini Motorsports after Raphaël had to retire before the start of his very first ARCA race tonight in Nashville. Lessard was attempting his first qualifying lap for the Music City 200 at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville when his #25 Musselman's BIG CUP Apple Sauce-Toyota-Camry car suddenly ended up in the wall.
Even though a second car was available at the track, management for Toyota and Venturini Motorsports mutually agreed not to use it because it was already set up for the next ARCA race to take place on April 30th in Salem.
Everything was going well for the young driver from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce earlier in the afternoon as he had the 7th best time during practice, only 90 minutes before the incident. Lessard, at the helm of his #25 Musselman's BIG CUP Apple Sauce-Toyota-Camry prepared by Venturini Motorsports, was the 21st driver to undertake his qualifying run when the incident happened, just moments after taking the green flag for his first fast lap.
“I am extremely disappointed and I just don't understand,” said Raphaël Lessard a few minutes after discussing with crew chief Dave Leiner. “I’m eager to discuss further with the team to understand what happened as I was so happy with my Camry’s performance during practice this afternoon.”
Raphaël’s next race will be on Saturday, April 15th, for the PASS Easter Bunny 150 at the Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.