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Introducing Raphaël Lessard: what to expect this season

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See also: Introducing Raphaël Lessard: The Rise of a Prodigy

See also: Introducing Raphaël Lessard: Professional Beginnings

See also: Introducing Raphaël Lessard: The First Years With Kyle Busch

See also: IntroducingRaphaël Lessard: the 2020 Season in NASCAR’s Truck Series

All this week, we have featured the life story and career beginnings of Raphaël Lessard, the young Quebec driver now entering his second full season in the NASCAR Camping World pickup truck series.

By the time you read this, he will be just about ready to take the green flag… or his first race will be behind him. Either way, let's take a look at what awaits him beyond that first race weekend in Florida, the one that kicks off the season across all three of NASCAR’s divisions.

The GMS team

Raphaël this year joined the GMS stable, partnering with a top team in the truck series. Last year, GMS captured the championship with driver Sheldon Creed. While Raphaël was in good hands last year with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports), he's also well surrounded this year and anything his possible for him.

Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24
Photo: GMS Racing
Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24

Goals

Of course, Raphaël would like to take home some trophies this year, but more importantly, he wants to qualify for the playoffs. To do so, he needs to be among the top 10 drivers in the overall standings after the first 15 races of the year. The playoffs will then take place over the next seven races; the first three will be used to eliminate two drivers; in the next three, four more will be dropped; and only four drivers will be left standing for the championship fight at the last race of the season. The title will go to the top finisher during that last event.

On top of that, Raphaël told us that he really wants to improve on the 1.5-mile ovals, where the learning curve has been so far the most demanding.

Although it's very difficult to predict what kind of results he'll get this year, we can expect some interesting performances and, hopefully, a spot in the playoffs.

Stay tuned.

Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24 , fig. 2
Photo: GMS Racing
Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24 , fig. 2

Bien sûr, si le succès est au rendez-vous, nous en serons tous réjouis, mais au-delà, des résultats qui demeurent importants pour la suite des choses, la progression de Raphaël sera la chose à surveiller. Il ne faut surtout pas oublier qu’il n’a que 19 ans ; le temps joue en sa faveur. Et considérant la détermination et l’attitude prouvées jusqu’ici par Raphaël, on n’a pas à être trop inquiets.

Déjà, il s’est illustré lors de la séance de qualification pour la première course de l’année qui sera courue vendredi soir sur le circuit de Daytona en signant le cinquième temps.

Disons que ça promet et qu’on a hâte de voir Raphaël en piste. Plusieurs pilotes canadiens se sont illustrés sur la scène internationale au cours des dernières années, mais nous sommes sur le point d’en voir un autre le faire, et pour longtemps. Le talent et l’attitude sont au rendez-vous, deux éléments essentiels, sans compter un entourage de grande qualité.

D’ailleurs, à propos de la série d’articles portant sur Raphaël cette semaine, un remerciement particulier à Jessica Ménard de « Les Équipes Caissie-Ménard inc. » pour son soutien, l’organisation du rendez-vous avec Raphaël en décembre dernier, ainsi que l’accès à de superbes photos.

Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24 , fig. 3
Photo: Auto123
Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24 , fig. 3
Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24 ,  during qualifications
Photo: Auto123
Raphaël Lessard's truck number 24 , during qualifications
Raphaël Lessard,  during qualifications
Photo: Auto123
Raphaël Lessard, during qualifications