After seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events this season, Raphael Lessard’s bid for a full-season with GMS Racing will faulter, the team announced on Monday Morning.
“Due to unfortunate circumstances, Raphael Lessard will no longer compete in the No. 24 for GMS Racing for the remainder of the 2021 season. Information on the No. 24 entry will be announced at a later date,” a statement from GMS Racing reads.
Since the beginning, the St.-Joseph de Beauce, Quebec-native has been open about his struggles to find a full-season of sponsorship in order to maintain the championship-caliber ride, which he spoke about – among other things — in an exclusive interview with TobyChristie.com at the start of April.
Lessard’s team cites the unfavorable conditions from the COVID-19 pandemic as the main factor for the team’s sponsorship struggles, as it didn’t allow the team to deploy the strategy planned to search for funding, throughout the 2020 and 2021 season.
“We always believed in it and we still believe in it. Over the past few years, the team and I have focused our efforts on completing a full season in top NASCAR circles and we have succeeded. However, we are currently in a situation where we cannot continue this season and it’s hard to tell you that, all I want and always wanted is to be behind the wheel and win! Lessard explains with emotion.
“We’re not putting an end to all auto racing. My dream is still to do the Daytona 500 in the Cup and see my parents sitting in the stands! We are open to opportunities and above all, we are working with GMS Racing to come back stronger in 2022, that’s the goal. Besides, I enjoyed every moment with them, from the preparation to the track, and I would like to especially thank Maurice J. Gallagher (Maury), Mike Beam, Josh Wise, Chevrolet, my agent Christopher Biby, my manager. team Chad Walter, my scout Tyler Monn and every teammate at GMS Racing.”
According to NASCAR’s Team Roster Portal, Ryan Reed – who has piloted the No. 49 Chevrolet Silverado for CMI Motorsports over the series’ last two races — will take over driving duties of the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado at Darlington Raceway, with no further plans announced for that truck’s future.
A May 1 report from Le Journal De Montreal also suggests that Jack Wood – GMS Racing’s ARCA Menards Series driver — may also acquire some on-track time in the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado.
Upon learning of this development, TobyChristie.com has reached out to representatives for Raphael Lessard Racing, as well as Ryan Reed.
At the time of publishing, requests for comment by Raphael Lessard Racing and Ryan Reed have gone unanswered.