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Kyle Busch Motorsports signs 16-year-old Canadian driver for Late Model program


Over the Christmas holiday it was announced that Raphael Lessard has been signed as the newest driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

A native of St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada, the 16-year-old will compete for KBM part-time in about 20 Late Model races next year.

Lessard is the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour champion, having won four races that season.

In 2017, Lessard earned 15 top 10s and seven top fives in 17 races in various series as a TRD development driver.

“It’s fantastic what happens to me, it’s definitely the most beautiful Christmas present I could hope (for),” Lessard said in a statement on his Facebook page. “I thank my parents, Jack Irving (Director, Team & Support Services at Toyota Racing Development), Toyota TRD, investors in the limited partnership and my sponsors without whom it would not be possible. My parents make so much sacrifice for me.” Lessard will make his KBM debut on Jan. 27-28 in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Speedfest 200 at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordelle, Georgia.

Lessard looks to join the growing list of names of young drivers who have had their careers launched via Kyle Busch Motorsports. The 2015 Cup champion has facilitated paths through NASCAR’s ranks for William Byron, Erik Jones and Christopher Bell.

Byron and Jones will both be in the Cup Series in 2018 and Bell will compete in his rookie season in the Xfinity Series.