Lessard was set to compete full-time in the NASCAR Truck Series
Raphael Lessard has spent the last three season competing in the NASCAR Truck Series. The included a full-time effort with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2020 where he picked up his first and only win.
For 2021, the 19-year-old driver was set to run full-time with GMS Racing. He’s run all 7 races so far this season, netting one top-5 and two top-10s.
However, following the race at Kansas Speedway, the team announced that Lessard will depart the No. 24 truck.
“Due to unfortunate circumstances, Raphael Lessard will no longer compete in the No. 24 for GMS Racing for the remainder of the 2021 season,” GMS Racing said in a Monday statement.
This goes into effect starting this weekend. The no. 24 is expected to have a different driver in the machine for Darlington Raceway.
The team added, “Information on the No. 24 entry will be announced at a later date.”
Missing for the announcement is the explanation that Lessard had sponsorship funding fall through.
Raphael Lessard comments
Following the team announcement, Lessard posted a letter on his website:
“My management team and I have always believed in our ultimate success and we still do,” Lessard opened in a statement.
“Over the last years, we have focused all our energies on completing full seasons in the upper echelons of NASCAR, and we have achieved that goal recently.”
“However, we are currently in a situation where we cannot continue this season, and it’s hard to accept that fact. All I have ever wanted is to be behind a steering wheel and win!” explains an emotional Raphael Lessard.
“We are not putting an end to all things racing. My dream is still to race in the Daytona 500 and see my parents sitting in the stands! We are open to opportunities and most importantly, we are working with GMS Racing to come back stronger in 2022. That is our goal!”
“In addition, I enjoyed every moment with GMS Racing, from the preparation to the track, and I want to give special thanks to Maurice J. Gallagher (Maury), Mike Beam, Josh Wise, Chevrolet and Christopher Biby, my Agent, Chad Walter, my crew chief, Tyler Monn, my spotter and all the crew at GMS Racing.”
“Right from the beginning of my career, I have owed my growth in the sport to many people: my parents, those who have travelled with me around the countries, Raphael Lessard Racing, Les Équipes Caissie-Ménard, the fans who have supported me on social and other networks, the media, the race teams who have welcomed me, and above all, the investors and partners who have believed in my talent.”
“Without all of you, nothing would have been possible. You know some of our key supporters and I will not name them here out of respect. However, I know that they will recognize themselves,” concludes Raphael Lessard.