Steve Francis delivers winning one-two punch in UDTRA Carolina weekend. Kentucky Colonel scores big win at Lancaster, SC to follow Friday Night 2nd place run. (Ashland, KY - April 22, 2002) Steve Francis delivered the big results he was...
Steve Francis delivers winning one-two punch in UDTRA Carolina weekend.
Kentucky Colonel scores big win at Lancaster, SC to follow Friday Night 2nd place run.
(Ashland, KY - April 22, 2002) Steve Francis delivered the big results he was seeking in this past weekend's United Dirt Track Racing Association (UDTRA) trip to the Carolinas as the Kentucky Colonel stole the show on Saturday night earning $10,000 for winning his first UDTRA event of the 2002 season. Francis, driver of the MOPAR Parts / Valvoline Dodge Intrepid R/T, stormed past defending UDTRA champion Rick Eckert on lap 20 of the 'SpeedSportsBook.com 50' at Lancaster (SC) Motor Speedway and launched his Rocket Chassis / Stanton Racing Engines powered machine to the victory. Francis, who had finished in second place to Dale McDowell in the Friday night weekend opener at Lancaster, reversed the roles on night two of UDTRA sanctioned action this time to beat McDowell and Jimmy Mars to the checkered flag. Scott Bloomquist took the fourth spot with Eckert winding up in fifth. It was the 10th overall top-ten run of the season for Francis in his 2002 bid for the national championship of dirt late model competition.
"We lost the race last night due to driver error, as Dale beat me with a moved I had used on him last year," Francis said. "There were a lot of races we should have won this year, and I owed this one to my crew. We're a new team this season, and we're really starting to jell. I would like to dedicate this win to my brother Chris because I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."
Francis, whose brother and former crew chief Chris passed away unexpectedly during the latter part of last season's championship efforts, has parlayed his sponsorship associations with the Valvoline Company and MOPAR Parts into a new team effort with Mark Richards Racing and Rocket Chassis in the 2002 season. The team's engines are provided by Gary Stanton Racing Engines.
In Friday night's 30 lap feature Francis led the first 27 laps of the race, but McDowell moved his Larry Shaw Race Cars prepared Rocket Chassis to the outside to make the winning pass with Francis finishing second in his Dodge Intrepid.
"Steve got held up in lapped traffic and we were able to reel him in," McDowell said after the weekend opener. "I tried the bottom groove a few times, but this is a momentum race track, so I got a good run on him on the outside, and I was able to pass him for the lead."
Francis' one-two combination with the win and second-place run in South Carolina moves the former champion of the "World 100" and "Dirt Track World Championship" into 3rd place in the UDTRA title chase efforts following the first seven sanctioned events of the 40-plus race season. In 16 overall starts so far in 2002 Francis has accumulated 6 top-five finishes, 10 top-tens, 1 pole award and 6 heat race wins to go with his Saturday night UDTRA win in the Carolinas. Francis, a former 3-time champion of the Renegade STARS series, is attempting to become the first short-tracker in history to claim national titles on both the STARS and UDTRA sanctions. Francis, known as the Kentucky Colonel, reminds fans that his web site address has recently moved to www.stevefrancisracing.com.
Steve Francis can be seen in action this week during the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series premier of SPEED Channel's "Dirty Thursday" this Thursday night at 11 p.m. ET with taped coverage of the tour's recent event from Glenmora, LA. This week holds another UDTRA double-header on Steve Francis' schedule with a Friday night (April 26) stop at Lavonia, GA then on to Thunder Valley Speedway in Lawndale, NC for Saturday night (April 27) with each event offering $10,000 to the winner. (For complete UDTRA results and standings see www.udtra.com)