Canadian teenager Raphaël Lessard wins again in CARS Super Late Model Tour
Fifteen-year-old teenager Raphaël Lessard has just increased his championship lead with his third career victory in the CARS Super Late Model Tour.
The St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec driver was driving on the Myrtle Beach Speedway Saturday night during the “BakerDist.com Honeywell 200 presented by 100.3 The Team” in South Carolina for what was Race 8 of a 10-race CARS Tour calendar.
It was not an easy race for Lessard despite qualifying his No. 99 FRL Express/Team Coach Imaging/Toyota/JBLAudio of David Gilliland Racing team on pole position with a track record earlier in the day. Right from the start, the young Canadian deliberately drove a slower pace and lost many positions to save his tires, then, with 40 laps remaining, he finally made a comeback and moved up from 8th place to fourth.
A yellow flag on lap 21, and a good restart from the No. 99 car, helped Lessard make his way to second place, behind the leader Matt Craig, soon after the restart. With 9 laps to go, Lessard made a pass on Craig and took the lead, running away with a one-second gap on the runner-up. Another yellow flag came to spice things up just three laps from the end. With the pack back together for the restart, anything could happen, but the 15-year-old driver did an outstanding job on the restart and won the race. With this victory, Lessard continues to increase his lead in the drivers' championship.
A great call form his crew chief
“Tonight was a very strategic race! Right from the start, I purposely let all my competitors pass me in order to manage my tires,” said the teenager. “Myrtle Beach is a very hard track for tires because they disintegrate very easily if not careful. In the end, I had the best tires because I managed them well. Seth Smith, my crew chief, and I were talking a lot during the race about my tires. At some point I asked him if I could start pushing and he said ‘OK’. This was a great decision! I would like to thank David Gilliland and the team for their outstanding job on the car. The car was perfect and I couldn’t ask for more!”
Raphaël Lessard is now taking a serious option on the drivers’ championship as there are only two races left to the season: “For the last two races in the CARS Super Late Model Tour I’ll try to keep calm and relaxed. I must not think too much about the championship and must do as always do!”
Lessard’s next race on the CARS Super Late Model Tour will be Saturday, October 29th at the Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina.
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