Steve Francis wasn’t happy with his performance on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Wild West Tour,’ but he at least headed home from the four-race swing on a positive note after finishing third in the ‘Great Plains 50’ on July 10 at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D. “We ran across something (at Huron),” said Francis, who started from the pole and led the first lap of the ‘Wild West Tour’ finale. “We were so horrible this whole trip, and so inconsistent this whole year, that when we unloaded Tim (Logan, his crew chief) and I talked about changing some things around. Our car’s been carrying the wheels and acting all kinds of stupid – and we have no rhyme or reason for it – so we finally decided we were gonna give the car what it was saying instead of doing what common sense tells ‘ya.
“We definitely made some progress. For the feature we were just way too tight – in the heat race (which he won easily) the track was just right for us, a little bit slippery then. We didn’t do too much before the feature, and when that rubber came we were just way too tight. I was scared to change much because we’ve been that bad – when you’ve been bad and all of a sudden your car is that good in a heat race, it’s hard to change a whole lot – so we’ll take that and try to build on it.”
Driving the Rocket car owned by Tim Logan in all four ‘Wild West Tour’ events, Francis was superb in qualifying. He set fast time for the ‘Gopher 50’ on July 7 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., and the ‘Mid-States Hydraulics 50’ on July 8 at Superior (Wis.) Speedway and then timed third-fastest on July 9 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., and fourth-fastest at DSFS. He also won a heat race at every track except Superior.
But Francis didn’t get the A-Main finishes he was looking for. At Deer Creek, he started sixth and finished seventh in a quiet, steady run. He finished one lap down in 12th at Superior after drawing a caution flag on lap 16 when he tangled with Austin Hubbard while battling for sixth and executed a 360-degree spin; he pitted moments later to change a flat left-rear tire. And at River Cities he was credited with a ninth-place finish after rain stopped the race with 21 of 50 laps complete, forcing official to declare the event official because the series could not return to the track this season.
With the WoO LMS idle until the five-race Ohio/Pennsylvania Speedweek starts on July 27 at Central PA Speedway in Clearfield, Pa., Francis has no plans to enter any races during his down time.
“We’ll take the next two weeks off and try to get everything geared back up,” said Francis, who sits fourth in the WoO LMS points standings, 116 points behind leader Josh Richards. “I’m gonna take a few days and take my daughter on vacation, do nothing but spend time with her and then come back and really get focused the last week before we go back to it. Tim and Deric (his other crewman) are gonna take a few days and get away too – you know, let everybody recharge their batteries and then be wide open for the rest of the year.”