NASCAR Xfinity Series

Raphael Lessard, SQR Development drop 2022 Xfinity plans

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Raphaël Lessard‘s NASCAR Xfinity Series début is off the table. On Tuesday, he revealed that SQR Development will not race in 2022, citing personal problems surrounding team owner J.C. Stout. He joined the newly formed team’s #87 Toyota GR Supra with plans to run ten to twelve races beginning this Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

Stout, a former start-and-park driver in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, founded SQR in December. The team purchased a chassis from Joe Gibbs Racing before signing Lessard a month later.

Speaking to French Canadian newspaper Le Journal de Québec, Lessard explained he had not heard back from Stout regarding his planned Richmond start. He called the owner on Saturday, to which he was told personal matters will prevent the team from seeing the track. Such issues were not specified by either party.

“Hey everyone! Due to a unfortunate personal matter SQR Development Racing’s owner JC Stout will have to cancel his plans for racing in the Xfinity Series this season,” reads a statement from Lessard’s Facebook“Mr. Stout wishes the best for driver Raphael Lessard in the other driving opportunities he has ahead of him and appreciates all of Raphael’s fans support over the last couple of months! On my side I’m ready to take on my busy season that is starting very soon”.

The unusual nature of the situation, which included Stout previously proclaiming his intent to run for governor of New York, prompted those like Le Journal de Québec to suggest Lessard had been duped. Lessard conceded to the paper that he was “not really convinced of the seriousness of this company when I was approached,” but that he joined the team as he was running out of opportunities to stay in NASCAR. Although he won a Truck race with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2020, he lost his ride after just one season; a full-time slate with GMS Racing for 2021 only lasted seven races before funding ran out and forced him to the sidelines yet again.

While his NASCAR national series prospects are grim at the moment, he has found other opportunities in regional divisions including the Pinty’s Series in his native Canada. He has three wins in the series, including a weekend sweep of the 2021 season opener.

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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