ASHLAND, KY – Jan. 27, 2010 – Steve Francis is ready to go racing like he used to in 2010.
After spending the last two years as a hired-gun driver, the veteran dirt Late Model star from Ashland, Ky., is back this season in his familiar position as an owner-operator. The return of the well-known Steve Francis Racing No. 15 comes during the ‘Super Bowl of Racing VI’ scheduled Jan. 28-30 at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga.
“I’ve been my own boss for most of my career so I’m excited to be back on my own,” said Francis, whose primary focus in 2010 will be chasing the World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship that he won in 2007 when he last fielded his own team. “I’m sure there’s gonna be a little bit of an adjustment period, but I’m confident we’ll make this work because I have great equipment and a great group of sponsors and supporters.”
Buoyed by the continuation of his primary sponsorship deal with Valvoline for the 11th consecutive season, Francis, 42, has reassembled a formidable operation in the short time since his successful two-year association with Maryland car owner Dale Beitler ended in November. A flurry of activity in the Francis shop has him headed south to kick off ’10 with two Rocket Chassis cars powered by Custom Racing Engines – the same combination that carried Francis to his only WoO LMS title.
Francis has enlisted some close friends to help him in 2010, led by longtime speed shop and team owner Tim Logan and Logan’s son, Lee. The elder Logan plans to travel the circuit as Francis’s crew chief this season as well as provide his own pair of Russell Baker-powered Rocket cars for Francis’s use in selected non-WoO LMS events, while Lee Logan, who served as Francis’s crew chief in 2007, returns to the SFR fold on a part-time basis to handle work in the shop while Francis is on the road. Francis has also hired Derik Reese as a fulltime mechanic to further bolster his effort.
With Francis’s new S&S hauler and trailer not ready for pick up in Nebraska until after his season-opening southern excursion, he will make the trip using a rig borrowed from sponsor Harbaugh Amusement. The car he plans to pull out of the Harbaugh trailer for duty at Golden Isles will be a machine that Francis prepared for NASCAR star Ryan Newman to drive in a handful of 2009 events and has since reconstituted with his own trademark No. 15. Francis will also bring along a new Rocket – a mount sporting his new-for-2010 lettering and color scheme by JFR Graphics – but he’s uncertain when he will debut the car in competition.
The meet at Golden Isles is just the start of a busy month-long stretch for Francis. After departing Georgia he’ll enjoy a few days off in Florida before visiting Ocala (Fla.) Speedway for a test session on Feb. 3. Then he’ll head to East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla., to run the final three nights (Feb. 4-6) of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Winternationals behind the wheel of a Blount Motorsports Rocket car alongside the team’s lead driver, Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn., before spending a week (Feb. 8-13) at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., for the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.
Francis will drive his own equipment in Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals, which includes DIRTcar UMP Late Model events on Feb. 8, 9, 10 and 12 and the season-opening World of Outlaws Late Model Series programs on Feb. 11 and 13. He won the second WoO LMS A-Main during last year’s DIRTcar Nationals.
Francis’s schedule won’t slow down once he leaves the Sunshine State. He’ll have to ready his new hauler and then, on Feb. 27, he will marry Amanda Ferrell in Bardstown, Ky. After a honeymoon trip he’ll return to the shop to prepare for the remainder of the 2010 WoO LMS, a grueling national tour on which he’s one of just two drivers to start all 237 A-Mains contested since 2004.
Fans can stay up-to-date on all the latest Steve Francis news and information by visiting his completely redesigned Web site at www.stevefrancisracing.com.
From Steve Francis Press Release