World News – CA – Lessard takes first truck victory in Talladega elimination race

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In a savage two-lap shootout that ended prematurely with a multicar wreck near the entrance to Turn 3, 19-year-old Canadian Raphael Lessard claimed his first NASCAR Gander RV & victory Outdoors Truck Series in Saturday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Talladega Superspeedway

Lessard had nosedived past second Trevor Bayne as Stewart Friesen’s Chevrolet sped into the back outside wall on the final lap, prompting caution that froze the peloton Yellow made Lessard a winner, but what was euphoric for one Kyle Busch Motorsports driver was heartbreaking for another

With playoff berths in the elimination race still on the line for the final restart on lap 93 of 94 at the 266-mile superspeedway, Christian Eckes fell victim to the latest wreckage that also left the playoff driver behind. Austin Hill shoved out of his No 16 Toyota, which was sitting on the apron with flames pulling under the hood

With the round of 16 over, Eckes was knocked out by eight points, as Tyler Ankrum – another victim of the final round wreckage – advanced to the knockout stages of the playoffs by that margin Hill had already secured a berth in the next round with last weekend’s victory in Las Vegas

These two drivers are joined by Sheldon Creed (12th Saturday), Ben Rhodes (fourth), Brett Moffitt (seventh), Matt Crafton (eighth), Grant Enfinger (13th) and Zane Smith (33rd) Crafton took the flag green on the final restart under the playoff cup line, but avoided the final wreckage to complete day five of the playoff standings

But the big winner was Lessard, who didn’t advance to the playoffs but took home a big consolation prize on Saturday, with a strong push from Rhodes

“Oh, my gosh that was awesome,” said Lessard, who moved to Mooresville, NC, from Quebec this year “First of all I just want to thank everyone back home, my team – Kyle Busch Motorsports Can’t believe it This is only my second race on the superspeedway

« Getting my first Truck Series victory here is amazing I don’t know who was behind me but he gave me a hell of a boost I can’t thank him enough He pushed me as hard as he could, and I was just for the ride

« The warning came at the right time I’m so happy I have to burn out after the win I hope I can do some more »

Smith avoided elimination despite being swept away in an 11-car wreck on Lap 13 He spent the rest of the race anxiously waiting to see if he would advance to the knockout stages

“It sucks, sure,” Smith said after the crash “They just kept regrouping. My teammate (Chase Purdy) got completely distorted, and I was just kind of an innocent bystander”

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Todd Gilliland, whose No 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford retired from the race after 47 laps due to engine problems Gilliland had finished second in stage 1 (won by Hill) and seventh in stage 2 (won by Derek Kraus) before the mechanical failure

Chandler Smith was third, giving the non-qualifying drivers the top three places Rhodes was fourth, followed by Codie Rohrbaugh, Jordan Anderson, Moffitt, Crafton, Kaz Grala and Kraus

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race – 15th Annual Chevrolet Silverado 250
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, Alabama
Saturday October 3, 2020

1 (15) Raphael Lessard #, Toyota, 94
2 (25) Trevor Bayne, Chevrolet, 94
3 (5) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 94
4 (11) Ben Rhodes (P), Ford, 94
5 (34) Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, 94
6 (26) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 94
7 (8) Brett Moffitt (P), Chevrolet, 94
8 (7) Matt Crafton (P), Ford, 94
9 (28) Kaz Grala (i), Chevrolet, 94
ten (17) Derek Kraus #, Toyota, 94
11 (14) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 94
12 (1) Sheldon Creed (P), Chevrolet, 94
13 (4) Grant Enfinger (P), Ford, 94
14 (22) Clay Greenfield, Toyota, 94
15 (21) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 94
16 (9) Tyler Ankrum (P), Chevrolet, 94
17 (13) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 94
18 (6) Christian Eckes # (P), Toyota, Accident, 93
19 (2) Austin Hill (P), Toyota, Accident, 93
20 (19) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 93
21 (38) Bryan Dauzat, Chevrolet, 93
22 (36) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 93
23 (32) Josh Reaume, Toyota, 93
24 (31) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 92
25 (30) Jason White, Toyota, 92
26 (37) Robby Lyons (i), Chevrolet, 92
27 (27) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 88
28 (10) Todd Gilliland (P), Ford, engine, 47
29 (12) Tanner Gray #, Ford, accident, 47
30 (23) Gus Dean, Chevrolet, accident, 36 years old
31 (16) Tate Fogleman #, Chevrolet, accident, 19
32 (18) Chase Purdy, Chevrolet, accident, 12
33 (3) Zane Smith # (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 12
34 (20) Danny Bohn, Toyota, accident, 12 years old
35 (33) Dawson Cram, Chevrolet, accident, 12
36 (29) Korbin Forrister, Ford, accident, 12 years old
37 (35) Joe Nemechek, Ford, accident, 12
38 (24) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, accident, 12 years old

Average speed of race winner: 129,424 mph
Race time: 1 hour, 55 minutes, 55 seconds Winning margin: under caution seconds
Warning flags: 5 for 24 turns
Main changes: 14 of 10 drivers
Tour leaders: S Credo (P) 1; A Hill (P) 2; S Credo (P) 3-4; A Hill (P) 5-12; C Eckes # (P) 13-18; S Credo (P) 19; A Hill (P) 20-21; D Kraus # 22-40; C Smith 41; B Moffitt (P) 42-54; J Jump 55-65; J Cobb 66-81; S Credo (P) 82-87; S Friesen 88-93; R Lessard # 94
Summary of Leaders (Driver, Times Lead, Led Tours): Derek Kraus # 1 time for 19 laps; Jennifer Jo Cobb 1 time for 16 laps; Brett Moffitt (P) 1 time for 13 laps; Johnny Jump 1 time for 11 laps; Austin Hill (P) 3 times for 11 laps; Sheldon Creed (P) 4 times for 10 laps; Christian Eckes # (P) 1 time for 6 laps; Stewart Friesen 1 time for 6 rounds; Raphael Lessard # 1 time for 1 lap; Chandler Smith 1 time for 1 round
Stage # 1 Top Ten: 16,38,18,2,99,51,56,26,23,19
Stage # 2 Top Ten: 19,13,51,16,23,99,38,2,26,88

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Raphaël Lessard, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR, Talladega, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Chevrolet Silverado 250

News from around the world – CA – Lessard takes first truck victory in Talladega’s elimination race


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