Raphael Lessard earned a career-best third-place finish in Sunday's NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series race at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Road Course. The third-place result, surpassed the seventh-place result he earned just last week in the Truck Series event at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Lessard led three circuits in the opening laps of the Final Stage, but would lose the lead after missing the chicane on the frontstretch on Lap 30. The talented teenager would remain focused despite the mistake and in the end earned his first top-five finish in NASCAR's third division.
Stage One Recap:
- Lessard started in the 10th 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.
- In a strategy play, Lessard was summoned to pit road by crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. and the over-the-wall pit crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop. Prior to pitting, the rookie driver radioed to his crew that he needed a little bit more drive.
- Lessard would pilot the Mobil 1 Tundra to a 13th-place finish in Stage One.
Stage Two Recap:
- Before the start of Stage Two, Lessard radioed to his crew that his Mobil 1 Tundra was experiencing a bad wheel hop in Turns Three and Six and was tight in the bus stop on the backstretch. Under the caution, Lessard was asked to conserve his tires and fuel.
- During the stage, Lessard was summoned to pit road on Lap 23 by Hillman for four tires and fuel.
- The stage would stay green the entire time. He would finish the stage in the seventh position to score four stage points.
- During the stage caution, Lessard was asked to continue to save fuel while taking care of his tires as the team was saving for the possibility of a green-white-checkered finish. The 19-year-old driver would start the stage from the first position.
- Lessard would lead three laps before he had to serve a stop-and-go penalty for missing the chicane off Turn Four. After serving his penalty, the rookie driver would drop to the seventh position.
- Under the third caution on Lap 34, Lessard radioed to his crew that he would wheel hop the rear tires when he would hit the brakes. Lessard was summoned to pit road for four tires and fuel. This final pit stop would help the No. 4 Mobil 1 team under a green-white-checkered situation. He would restart in the 10th position.
- When the fourth caution flew on Lap 41, Lessard worked his way up to the fifth position. On the fifth caution on Lap 44, Lessard worked his way up to fourth.
- After a green-white-checkered finish, Lessard managed to gain one position to finish third.