Raphaël Lessard takes 9th place at Snowball Derby
Young Canadian stock car racer Raphaël Lessard finished 9th at the 300-lap Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida last Sunday.
Lessard, a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver, qualified his No. 99 Toyota Camry prepared by David Gilliland Racing on the outside of row 9 on Friday evening, only 23 hundreds of a second slower than pole position holder, Preston Peltier.
The Québec native spent the first third of the race running mid-pack. He began to slice through the field on Lap 95, making it to 10th place by Lap 105. On Lap 188, Lessard was up in fifth place. However, a bump by former teammate Chase Purdy on Lap 206 demoted him to eighth place and forced him to give up two more positions a few laps later. He then lost time to the leaders, and after the last pit stop, he was up in 10th place. On the final lap he move ahead of McReynolds to secure the ninth-place finish.
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driver Kyle Busch won the race ahead of Jeff Choquette of Florida.
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“All things considered it wasn’t a bad race,” said Lessard after the race. “I was happy to finish inside the Top 10, which was my goal going into the weekend. There was an awful lot of bumping going on and I found myself trapped on the outside on my than one occasion making it difficult to move.
“On the last lap I saw an opportunity to pass McReynolds and took it. I want to thank David Gilliland for his faith in me and for surrounding me with a great team. I also am very grateful to Toyota-TRD, David Wilson, Tyler Gibbs and Jack Irving for their continuous support,” Lessard concluded.
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