A holiday-weekend World of Outlaws Late Model Series doubleheader in the Volunteer State produced a pair of top-10 finishes for Steve Francis -- including a near-win on Saturday night (July 3) at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway. Francis kicked off his trip with an eighth-place finish in Friday night's 'Invasion 50' at Wartburg (Tenn.) Speedway. He started 12th and had his attempts to move further forward hampered by the quarter-mile oval's track surface, which took rubber midway through the A-Main.
The veteran was in the thick of the battle all night 24 hours later at Tazewell, a high-banked one-third-mile oval he had last visited seven years ago. He started fourth and was second by lap 15; he spent the remainder of the distance running there, trying hard to unseat eventual winner Shane Clanton.
“I think I was more maneuverable, but he could run a faster lane in the open every lap,” Francis said of Clanton. “There wasn’t enough off of (turn) four to really pass. He was gonna have to make a mistake for me to get by him. “We ran first and second, though, so I’m happy. Me and Shane have been working on a lot of stuff together, so it was a good race for both of us.”
Francis, who is ranked fourth in the WoO LMS points standings, headed back to his shop in Ashland, Ky., following Tazewell's checkered flag for a quick prep stop-over before heading out for the four-race WoO LMS 'Wild West Tour,' which begins on Wed., July 7, at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. The swing also includes events on July 8 at Superior (Wis.) Speedway, July 9 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., and July 10 at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D.