After you have discussed it with members of his entourage, his parents Francis and Chantal mainly, Raphael Lessard chose to remain in North Carolina, where he resides since a few months already, rather than return to his Beauce native.
“I think it was the best decision to take, said the driver of the 18-year-old, in a telephone interview with the Journal. I could not risk not to be allowed to return to the United States thereafter. “
Recruited full-time in 2020 by the renowned team of Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the series of the Vans in Gander Outdoors, Lessard has seen his career end after only two races, Daytona and Las Vegas last month, when the series NASCAR has suspended its activities because of the COVID-19.
“We expect new, he added, but for now, we don’t know when everything will start again. In fact, nobody knows. “
Or even NASCAR, should he add, is able to predict anything. But one fact remains, the leaders of the series, silent since that recent races of the discipline have been postponed at Atlanta (march 15) and to Homestead Florida (march 22), are also in the waiting.
As in Europe
As the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has minimized the impact of the pandemic there are only a few weeks, so today, he realizes the magnitude of the situation.
It is to be expected the draconian measures of his part in the coming weeks. Some american States have already taken concrete steps to limit travel on their respective territories.
In fact, North America could live near future that Europe, particularly Italy and Spain, currently lives. It is not out of the woods.
All that to say that if NASCAR, in its most recent press release, has announced ” that she wanted to return to competition on may 9th at Martinsville “, it will not have any other choice than to postpone this start of the year. And several weeks, or even months.
In this regard, it is necessary, therefore, to assume that the races could not resume at the beginning of July.
And this is a joyful puzzle that waits for all the stakeholders of the Cup, NASCAR, the schedule is very loaded of 36 races, there were very few breaks up to the final stage scheduled for 8 November in Phoenix, Arizona.
Already seven competition programs have been cancelled.
In his case, Lessard must get behind the wheel on may 15, in Charlotte, North Carolina. But forget it, he will have to sharpen his patience even longer.
“We have been ordered to stay at home, he pointed out. This is what I do. It was planned that I spend the year in the United States, regardless of the circumstances. “
Lessard is hosted by a friend of Sherrills Ford, in the region of Mooresville, North Carolina, where are located the workshops of the team KBM.
“All the facilities put at my disposal, including the gym and the simulator, have been closed since a week, he said. I continue my workout at home and I jog in the parks and wooded areas nearby.
“I’m in better shape than ever. I just look forward to start racing again. The queue is already very long and I don’t know when it will finish. I covered this race in Atlanta [the last week] with so much confidence. It would have been my second race on a circuit of a mile and a half “, he concluded.
This is only a postponement for the young hopes of the stock-because-of-Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce.
The family keeps the morale
At the end of the over, Francis Lessard repeat that his son Raphael are in good hands in North Carolina.
“We talk regularly,” said the father, in a telephone interview with the Journal. We only wish one thing, that it would reopen as quickly as possible. But we don’t have a crystal ball. The important thing is that he is well surrounded. “
The stable is Kyle Busch, who is running full-time in the series of the Vans in Gander Outdoors, the third division of NASCAR, brings him all the coaching he needs. And it is reassuring for the family.
François Lessard is a figure known in his hometown of Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce. He is the boss of the transport company FRL Express.
“We are not too affected by the pandemic,” he says. Our trucks are allowed to cross the u.s. border, even if there is a downward trend of ridership. “
“Nothing is gained “
“One has the impression that everything was going too well before,” he continues. It is necessary to do a reset and reset the counters to zero. We realize that life is precious. That nothing is acquired.
“But it is noted that in China, where it all began, and life resumed its normal course. This is a good sign. “