CORNWALL, ONT - June 20, 2010 - Steve Francis got his groove back on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series with a dominant performance in Sunday night’s 50-lap A-Main at Cornwall Motor Speedway.
Making his first WoO LMS start of the season in a Rocket car owned by his crew chief Tim Logan, Francis took advantage of a pole position start to lead every lap of the national tour’s third annual visit to Ron Morin’s finely-manicured Canadian quarter-mile oval.
Francis, 42, of Ashland, Ky., rolled to his second series victory of 2010, staying safely ahead of the sometimes wild position-swapping that went on behind him. In fact, second place changed hands five times among three drivers during the event, but no one was able to seriously challenge the 2007 WoO LMS champion.
“As the racetrack slicked off (the car) just got better and better and better,” said Francis, who earned $10,600 for becoming the fourth repeat winner of the 2010 WoO LMS campaign. “In the feature the thing was basically on a rail. You could drive it about anywhere. We ran the top of (turns) one and two and the top of three and four at points, which shows how good it was.”
Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., futilely chased Francis under the checkered flag, finishing 1.338 seconds behind the winner in his Rocket car. The 2008 WoO LMS titlist overtook Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., coming down for the white flag to secure the runner-up spot.
Fuller, who had passed Lanigan for second just before a caution flag flew on lap 32 and briefly peeked underneath Francis following the restart, settled for a third-place finish in the Gypsum Express Rocket car. The run ended Fuller’s two-race winning streak on the WoO LMS ‘Great Northern Tour.’
Fuller’s Gypsum Express Racing teammate, DIRTcar big-block Modified star Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., advanced from the ninth starting spot to finish fourth in his first WoO LMS start of 2010. A former Super DIRTcar Series event winner at Cornwall, Decker earned the $500 WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour A-Main and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.
Tour rookie Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., placed fifth at Cornwall for the second straight year, nipping Dan Stone of Thompson, Pa., by inches at the finish line in Dale Beitler’s Rocket car. The 18-year-old sensation, who started 10th, cracked the top five despite running virtually the entire distance with his car’s steering hampered by a broken rack.
Stone finished sixth – the same position he started the race – after climbing as high as fourth. He was bidding to pass Lanigan for third on lap 21 when he slid off the backstretch, dropping him to seventh and forcing him to spend the remainder of the distance working his way back into contention.
Francis had no problems in Logan’s machine, which he finally decided to press into service on this year’s Outlaw trail. He kicked off the Great Northern Tour driving his own Valvoline-sponsored car to finishes of 13th on June 15 at Can-Am Motorsports in Lafargeville, N.Y., and fifth on June 17 at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ont., before Saturday’s event at Quebec’s Autodrome Drummond was rained out. “
“Tim’s put a lot of time and effort into my whole program this year,” said Francis, who had planned to run Logan’s car at Drummond. “Part of our deal this year was I was gonna run his car in some races, but it seems like every time we unloaded his car (this year), it rained out.
“I’m real happy that we finally got to run this thing. It really helps Tim a lot, and it helps (engine builder) Russell Baker too – we ran a brand-new 11-degree motor, something a little bit different. We’ve run this motor twice – we sat on the outside pole at West Virginia Motor Speedway and won here tonight. Obviously, it’s a pretty good car and engine combination.”
Good enough for Francis to cool down the sizzling Fuller and record his 28th career WoO LMS triumph – more than any other driver on the tour since 2004.
“I kept watching where Fuller was because he’s on a hot streak,” said Francis, whose previous WoO LMS victory this season came on March 27 at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas. “When I looked and seen he got by Darrell and Clint (Smith) for second, I thought, ‘Well, here he comes again.’
“I saw Fuller shoot in there under me on that one restart (lap 32), but I just said, ‘Hit your marks and you’ll be fine.’ I don’t want to say I was that confident, but I knew my car was so good that if I hit my marks, I’d be OK.”
The 42-year-old Fuller, who started fifth, tipped his helmet to Francis after falling short at a track where he has experience in DIRTcar big-block and 358-Modified competition.
“He was more consistent getting through the ruts and the bumps,” Fuller said of Francis. “I could stay with him for one lap and then he’d start checking out. He was really good.”
Lanigan, who turned 40 on June 3, also failed to keep pace with Francis.
“We were set up for the bottom,” said Lanigan. “If we could hit it just right we’d have something for him, but if we missed it we’d just hang there. Francis could just move all around better.”
Lanigan’s second-place finish gave him a big boost in the WoO LMS points standings, moving him from second to third and leaving him just 14 points behind leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who finished 15th with a car that was plagued by handling problems from damage to the left side of its nosepiece. Richards bent his car’s nose when he caught the berm on the inside of turn one just three laps into the race and further damaged it on lap 11 when he swerved into the turn-two hill to avoid Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who lurched into Richards’s path when he restarted his car after sliding off the track between turns one and two to bring out a caution flag.
McCreadie, who entered the event ranked second in the points standings, restarted at the rear of the field after his off-track excursion and charged back to salvage a seventh-place finish – right where he had been running on lap 11. He fell to third in the points standings but sliced his deficit to Richards from 36 to 20 points.
Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., faded to an eighth-place finish after starting fourth. Coleby Frye of Dover, Pa., who took a break from his regular job as car chief of Hubbard’s Beitler Motorsports mount to drive Clint Smith’s backup car, placed ninth and eighth-starter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., was 10th after rallying from an early-race scramble that caused him to fall all the way back to 19th.
Four caution flags slowed the race. After McCreadie triggered the first yellow on lap 11, subsequent cautions were brought out on lap 31 by Richards (stopped and then pitted); lap 32 by Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio (stopped on backstretch); and lap 44 by Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. (spun in turn four from left-front bodywork damage sustained in a scrape while battling Clanton for seventh).
The upset of the evening was pulled off in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials by Frye, who recorded the show’s fastest qualifying circuit after getting a last-minute opportunity to drive Smith’s backup car. The 25-year-old Keystone State dirt Late Model racer ripped off a lap of 12.467 seconds – just a tick off the track record – to earn his first-ever quick-time honor on the WoO LMS.
Heat winners were Francis, Clint Smith and Stone. With the field numbering exactly 24 cars, no B-Main was run.
Smith went on to finish 12th in the A-Main after running second for much of the race’s first half. He was hampered by a broken engine valve throughout the distance, causing a loss of power that cost him ground on each restart.
The WoO LMS ‘Great Northern Tour’ continues on Tues., June 22, at Brewerton (N.Y.) Speedway before concluding on June 24-26 with the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Cornwall Motor Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (1) Steve Francis/50 $10,600
2. (3) Darrell Lanigan/50 $5,600
3. (5) Tim Fuller/50 $3,575
4. (9) Billy Decker/50 $3,100
5. (10) Austin Hubbard/50 $2,750
6. (6) Dan Stone/50 $1,700
7. (12) Tim McCreadie/50 $2,000
8. (4) Shane Clanton/50 $1,800
9. (13) Coleby Frye/50 $1,250
10. (8) Rick Eckert/50 $1,600
11. (18) Brent Robinson/50 $1,050
12. (2) Clint Smith/50 $1,500
13. (14) Chub Frank/50 $1,450
14. (17) Ricky Elliott/50 $900
15. (7) Josh Richards/50 $1,450
16. (11) Russell King/49 $1,300
17. (16) April Farmer/49 $770
18. (15) Greg Oakes/49 $750
19. (20) Peter Mantha Jr./48 $730
20. (21) Jill George/48 $700
21. (22) Larry Wight/47 $700
22. (23) Charlie Sandercock/ $700
23. (24) Philip Potts/46 $725
24. (19) Caley Weese/45 $700
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 26 Mins., 44.617 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.338 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 4 (Laps 11, 31, 32, 44)
Lap Leaders: Francis (1-50)
Provisional Starters: None
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Decker ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. F44-Coleby Frye/Dover, PA 12.467
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 12.468
3. 19-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 12.479
4. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 12.555
5. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 12.567
6. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 12.586
7. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 12.593
8. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 12.611
9. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 12.621
10. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 12.655
11. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 12.737
12. 91-Billy Decker/Unadilla, NY 12.751
13. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 12.761
14. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 12.889
15. 21d-Dan Stone/Thompson, PA 12.894
16. 99L-Larry Wight/Baldwinsville, NY 13.029
17. 2-Ricky Elliott/Seaford, DE 13.100
18. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 13.141
19. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 13.209
20. 1cfr-Peter Mantha Jr./Gatineau, QUE 13.219
21. 22x-Greg Oakes/Franklinville, NY 13.305
22. 77-Caley Weese/Belleville, ONT 13.987
23. 57-Charlie Sandercock/Belleville, ONT 14.040
24. 29P-Philip Potts/Frankford, ONT 14.349
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 2 Redraw): Francis, Clanton, Richards, Hubbard, Frye, Farmer, Weese, Wight
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 2 Redraw): C. Smith, Lanigan, Eckert, King, Frank, Elliott, Mantha, Sandercock
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 2 Redraw): Stone, Fuller, Decker, McCreadie, Oakes, Robinson, George, Potts
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Billy Decker
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Tim Fuller
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): Philip Potts
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): Coleby Frye
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Austin Hubbard
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): Caley Weese
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Tim Fuller
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Tim McCreadie
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Russell King
R2C Performance ($100 cash): Billy Decker
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to highest finisher w/decal): Tim Fuller
2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of June 20 – 19 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 2628 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 2614 (-14)
3. Tim McCreadie 2608 (-20)
4. Steve Francis 2546 (-82)
5. Tim Fuller 2544 (-84)
6. Austin Hubbard 2496 (-132)
7. Rick Eckert 2440 (-188)
8. Shane Clanton 2422 (-206)
9. Chub Frank 2378 (-250)
10. Clint Smith 2318 (-310)
11. Russell King 2186 (-442)
12. Brady Smith 2020 (-608)
13. Brent Robinson 1978 (-650)
14. Jill George 1542 (-1086)
15. Vic Coffey 924 (-1704)
16. Brian Birkhofer 830 (-1798)
17. Dan Stone 780 (-1848)
18. Dale McDowell 748 (-1880)
19. April Farmer 746 (-1882)
20. Billy Moyer 696 (-1932)
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.
To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.
To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.
Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and Chizmark Larson Insurance; in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassi, R2C Performance and Wrisco Aluminum.