Raphaël Lessard takes 5th place in first race of 2018
In his first race with Kyle Busch Motorsports, Raphaël Lessard captured fifth place at the RCA/CRA Speedfest Super Series 200 in Cordele, Georgia.
Following a rewarding qualifying session on Friday, the 16-year-old stock car driver took the start of the 200-lap race in 9th position at Crisp Motorsports Park's Watermelon Capital Speedway in his No. 51 FRL Express/Mobil 1/Toyota Camry entered by Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Despite a contact that damaged his front right fender, Lessard battled hard with the leaders. On Lap 130, the Toyota Racing Development driver was up in fifth place despite the fender damage becoming more apparent. Lessard Raphaël eventually made a pit stop to change his two left tires and repair the damaged fender on Lap 139. Note that in this race, the series allowed the crews to change only two tires during the pit stops.
Lessard stopped again on Lap 170 for two news tires and rejoined the fray. He was running in sixth place when another competitor hit him, which caused some damages at the rear of the Toyota. He took the restart in 11th place and sliced through the field to make it to fifth place. The Canadian teenager crossed the line just 5.9 seconds behind the winner of the race, Chandler Smith.
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"I'm really happy with my performance for my second race on the Watermelon Capital Speedway,” Lessard explained after the race.
“Overtaking other cars is difficult on this track and the uphill was tough, but I hung on up to the end and I was able to climb back into fifth place after the accident on the 176th lap. My team has incredible expertise and our chemistry enables us to work together very well. My adaptation to Kyle Busch Motorsports went very fast and I cannot wait for my second race with them.”
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