Tough race Raphaël Lessard at the All-American 400
After a solid qualifying run, Canadian Raphaël Lessard was all pumped up for a great result at the All-American 400 in Nashville.
The St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Québec driver qualified his No. 99 FRL Express/Toyota-TRD/JBL Audio Toyota Camry in 11th place at the .596-mile Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee.
However, mechanical issues began early in the race for Lessard who was forced to pit under the green. He then crossed the blend line on his way out when re-joining the race, resulting in a black flag and a drive-through penalty. Lessard found himself two laps down behind the leaders.
The teenager won the “lucky dog”, which meant he was reinserted on the leader’s lap following a full course caution, he still had to make another stop in the pits to make adjustments, again under the green. Losing precious time, he came back on the track, despite being several laps down.
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A few laps later, a competitor had a crash, and came down on Lessard’s car, forcing him to make a pit stop once more. The team realized the damage could not be repaired on site and decided to park the car on Lap 216 of the 400-lap race out of respect for the other drivers as well as for Lessard’s own safety.
“I am certainly very disappointed”, said the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver. “But I can't do anything about it and there is nothing left to do but turn the page and concentrate on the next race, the Winchester 400. One month ago, I finished third at the Winchester Speedway, I intend to be successful once again.”
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