Raphael Lessard Moves To GMS Racing

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Raphael Lessard will run the full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for GMS Racing. (Toyota Racing photo)

STATESVILLE, N.C. – GMS Racing announced Wednesday that young Canadian Raphael Lessard will run select races next year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

The Quebec driver will pilot a Chevrolet Silverado prepared by the organization that swept the top three places in the championship this season.

Lessard’s agreement with GMS Racing covers 12 races, which will be determined over the course of the season. Lessard’s management personnel and team members are working to find the necessary funding for him to participate in all 22 events on the 2021 calendar.

The first race of the Truck Series season is at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Feb. 12.

“We are very excited to have Raphael join GMS Racing for part of the 2021 season,” said Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing. “I believe Raphael will be a great addition to our GMS stable and I look forward to seeing him wheel one of our Chevrolets.”

Lessard ended his season this year on a high note, accumulating one win, four top-five and six top-10 finishes in the second half of the season.

In addition, he managed to improve from his starting to his finishing position in incident-free races by 67 places, compared to just 14 places in the first eight races of the season.

“I learned an incredible amount in all aspects of racing during the 2020 season, about pure driving skills, race strategies, aerodynamics, passing and legally making it difficult for others to pass me, adapting my driving to compensate for any handling issues and helping the team understand any issues to fix them at the next stop, focusing better on my driving despite any adversity,” Lessard noted. “The win at Talladega certainly helped the team and myself gain confidence, and also convinced us that we were able to race with the best and win.”

Lessard moves over to GMS from Kyle Busch Motorsports, where he piloted the No. 4 Toyota Tundra this season in his rookie year. His maiden victory in the Truck Series came at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October and Lessard is eager to add to that win.

“Finding myself with the best team of the 2020 season is unbelievable. They won the championship! I can’t wait to show what we can do aboard such great machines,” said Lessard. “The team knows how to bring potential winners at every race, a key to a great season. Our team will be great, and I can’t wait to be back on track.”

While he doesn’t know exactly how many races he’ll be running in next year, Lessard already has some goals in mind for the rounds he does run in with GMS Racing.

“(The plan is) to do as many races as possible,” he said. “I would like to win races and above all finish in the top five in every race, as well as continue to improve my driving.”