DGR-Crosley announced today that 17-year-old Canadian driver Raphael Lessard would join the team for two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races this season. Lessard will drive for the team at Iowa Speedway (Newton, Iowa) and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario driving the Réseau Dynamique Toyota Tundra.
Lessard previously raced a super late model for DGR-Crosley co-owner David Gilliland in 2016 where he went on to win a CARS Tour Championship after posting four wins, eight top-five finishes and leading a total of 157 laps. Looking to get as much seat time as possible, the St.-Joseph de Beauce, Quebec native is racing in Gander Trucks, NASCAR K&N Pro Series, and ARCA Menards Series competition this season.
“I’m super excited to work with Raphaël again,” said Gilliland. “He’s a great kid. He won a CARS Tour Championship with us back in 2016, and it’s been really fun to watch his progression the past few years. He’s done a great job in his first two truck races with KBM. He’s put together solid races, ran all the laps and that’s what it takes to learn and get better at this level. We are looking forward to getting him over here in one of our Tundra’s and continuing to help him learn and grow.”
Lessard has two-career Gander Trucks starts which occurred this season with Kyle Busch Motorsports. In those two starts, he earned 14th and 11th-place finishes respectively at Martinsville Speedway and Dover International Speedway. He has two seventh-place starting positions and completed every lap in those two races. Lessard has also entered two ARCA Menards Series races this season where he earned one top-five and one top-10 finish. He also has led for 83 laps.
“I am really happy to participate in these two additional truck races,” Lessard remarked. The DGR-Crosley team has changed several personnel since I last raced with them two years ago. Things do look great, as Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has an excellent reputation at all levels in NASCAR. In addition, I participated in a test session in Iowa and covered 100 laps, which will allow me to drive hard right from the start of the first practice session. I would also like to thank my partners, especially Réseau dynamique and the people who allow me to have great experiences like these two races.”
Lessard’s first race with DGR-Crosley will take place on Saturday, June 15 at Iowa Speedway in the M&M’s 200 Presented by Casey’s General Store.