It took a observe coated with clay and the presence of huge names from NASCAR to relaunch Raphaël Lessard’s season.
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The Quebec driver positioned third on Monday on the legendary Bristol advanced within the state of Tennessee to submit his greatest end in 5 begins in 2021 within the Camping World Pickup Truck sequence and, by the identical token, his greatest. efficiency since becoming a member of the GMS group.
Only the winner, a sure … Martin Truex, and Ben Rhodes, winner of the primary two phases this 12 months in Vans, preceded him on the end line.
The occasion was presupposed to be contested on Saturday night, but it surely was postponed till two days later resulting from persistent and typically heavy precipitation which made the observe impassable.
” It was time… “
“This end result is excellent, stated Lessard in a phone interview with the Journal. We’ve had a lot unhealthy luck currently. It was time for the tide to show in our favor. “
However, the 19-year-old driver would by no means have thought that a floor as unknown and unpredictable as clay would represent a playground for him, particularly figuring out that it was a very first expertise for him.
“I had a lot of fun,” he continued, “though I labored exhausting to defend my place on the finish. I used to be additionally apprehensive that my engine would fail me as a result of its temperature was so excessive at one level. “
What a comeback!
Bad climate compelled the cancellation of the qualifying races and Lessard needed to begin from twenty ninth place on the beginning grid. A place decided particularly by its poor end result [39e] in Atlanta on March 20.
“I didn’t have any expectations when I came to Bristol,” Lessard stated. My expertise was restricted to laps on a small filth observe in North Carolina in micro vehicles that don’t have anything to do with a pickup truck. “
“However, I stated to myself that with drivers as environment friendly as Kyle Larson in entrance of me at the beginning, I simply needed to comply with them to get again into the peloton. “
The technique has been profitable for Lessard. Not solely was he by no means dumped by Larson, considered one of 5 common NASCAR Cup drivers to compete within the occasion, he even beat him.
“I was faster than him,” stated Lessard, “when he began having issues. “
Involved in an accident, Larson was compelled to retire on the 98th of 150 laps. Apart from the winner, champion of the NASCAR self-discipline in 2017, Lessard did higher than Chase Briscoe (fifth), Bubba Wallace (eleventh), Kevin Harvick (fifteenth) and Daniel Suarez (seventeenth).
Disappointment for Friesen
Like Larson, Stewart Friesen is taken into account a clay courtroom grasp. For many observers, the Canadian was the motive force to beat in Bristol, he who received the final clay take a look at of the Pickup Truck sequence offered in 2019 on the observe in Eldora, Ohio.
If he displayed his intentions at the beginning of the course, even permitting himself to guide a lap, he was not the identical within the third phase. His title solely seems twelfth within the remaining standings.
► The RDS community has drawn the wrath of a good variety of racing followers who, on social networks, have decried the choice of the French-speaking broadcaster of the NASCAR Pickup Truck sequence to not current the occasion on its airwaves on Monday. .