BY KEITH WALTZ
Nineteen-year-old Canadian Raphael Lessard is making his mark on auto racing in the United States. The teenager from St. Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, captured the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour championship, and he’s visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Born July 5, 2001, Lessard drove a Honda Civic to victory in his first race, which happened to take place on his 12th birthday. The youngster quickly advanced through the sportsman and late model ranks in his native country before shifting his racing focus to the United States.
After claiming the CARS crown, Lessard continued to run a full schedule of marquee late model races while testing the waters and other divisions. He made his ARCA Menards Series debut in 2017 with his first NASCAR Camping World Series start coming in 2019.
Driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports a year ago, Lessard won the Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway during his first full season in the series.
This year, Lessard has moved to GMS Racing as he chases his second Truck Series triumph.
“We are very excited to have Raphael join GMS Racing for the 2021 season,” said Mike Beam, president of GMS Racing. “I believe Raphael will be a great addition to our GMS stable and I look forward to seeing him wheel one of our Chevrolets.”
“Finding myself with the best team of the 2020 season is unbelievable,” Lessard said. “They won the championship. The team knows how to bring potential winners at every race; a key to a great season.”