Raphael Lessard scores first Truck win with Talladega triumph

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Nineteen-year-old Raphael Lessard scored his first career NASCAR win when officials ruled he was in the lead as the caution came out on the last lap of Saturday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway

The caution came out on the final lap for a multi-truck crash that ended the playoff hopes for Christian Eckes, who was involved in the incident. Todd Gilliland also was eliminated. Gilliland, who entered the race below the cutline to transfer, had an engine failure halfway through the race. Gilliland finished 28th.

“Oh my gosh,” Lessard told FS1. “That was awesome. I don’t know who was behind me, but he gave me a heck of a push and I can’t thank him enough because he’s part of that win too. He pushed me as hard as he could and I was just holding on for the ride. Then the caution came out at the right time. I’m so happy. This was my first time doing a burnout from a race win and I loved it. Hopefully we can do it some more.”

MORE: Race results 

Lessard, a rookie for Kyle Busch Motorsports was pushed into the lead by Ben Rhodes moments before the caution waved.

Trevor Bayne finished second for NIece Motorsports. Bayne said he would finish the season for Niece Motorsports. Chandler Smith finished third and was followed by Rhodes and Codie Rohrbaugh, whose team was penalized before the race because of an inspection violation. Jordan Anderson finished sixth.

The end was set up by a late caution. Sheldon Creed lost the lead with seven laps to go while leading and that brought out a caution.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Hill

STAGE 2 WINNER: Derek Kraus

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Trevor Bayne finished second for his best finish since coming to the Truck Series in September. … Codie Rohrbaugh’s fifth-place finish is his best since he was third at Daytona in the season opener. … Jordan Anderson’s sixth-place finish is his best since he was second in the season-opening race at Daytona.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Playoff driver Zane Smith was collected in a Lap 13 crash that eliminated seven Trucks. “I was just an innocent bystander,” Smith told FS1. Smith finished 33rd. Smith still advanced to the next round of the playoffs. … Todd Gilliland’s race ended early because of an engine issue and he failed to advance. … Christian Eckes finished 18th after he was caught in the last-lap crash and failed to advance in the playoffs.

NEXT RACE: The Round of 8 begins at 4 p.m. ET Oct. 17 at Kansas Speedway on Fox.