Steve Francis Still Looking For Consistency After Closing Month With Up-And-Down ‘Ohio-Pennsylvania Speedweek’ ASHLAND, KY – Aug. 2, 2010 – For Steve Francis, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Ohio-Pennsylvania Speedweek’ was seemingly a microcosm of his 2010 season: he ran well, but not consistently well enough for his liking.
Over the five-race swing that stretched from July 27-Aug. 1, Francis just couldn’t quite get on track the way he had hoped to after spending the national tour’s two-and-a-half-week mid-summer break relaxing and regrouping.
“We’re still looking for that consistency we’ve been lacking all year,” said Francis, a 42-year-old dirt Late Model professional from Ashland, Ky. “We’re just too up-and-down and this Speedweek was a perfect example of that. We had some good nights and showed some flashes, but we also struggled one night.”
Francis registered his best finish in the Ohio-Pennsylvania Speedweek opener on July 27 at Central PA Speedway in Clearfield, Pa., placing third after starting fifth. That would be his lone top-five performance of the week, though he did just miss out on two more with sixth-place finishes on July 30 at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park (after he established a new track record of 14.303 seconds in time trials) and Aug. 1 at Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa. (after making a late surge).
In addition, Francis finished eighth (from the 14th starting spot) in the 50-lap A-Main on July 29 at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio – an event that was postponed one day by rain – and 20th on July 31 at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio. His finish at Muskingum County came after he started 11th, leaving him with his most frustrating night of the Speedweek.
“I’ve had three of those (off) nights this year – Farmer City, Can-Am and Muskingum – and I still have no explanation for any of them,” said Francis, who finished one lap down at Muskingum County. “Same race car in all them…we just missed something real bad.”
Francis felt he ended the swing on a high note with his sixth-place run at Eriez. He liked how his self-owned Valvoline Rocket car performed in a 50-lap race that ran caution-free from start-to-finish.
“We were way better than (Saturday night at Muskingum),” said Francis. “I just needed a longer race. My car kept getting better and better – I think I got three (cars) in the last three laps. But (Tim) McCreadie, the 33 car (Chris Hackett), (Rick) Eckert and (Tim) Fuller were all racing two-by-two in front of me for a long time, and I had to just kinda sit there until one of them decided to go.
“I hope the things we learned and fixed (at Eriez) help us going forward,” added Francis, who sits fourth in the WoO LMS points standings, 172 points behind leader Josh Richards. “We kind of got back to doing the things I used to three years ago, and it seemed to make my car a little better – not great, but a little better. It’s something to build on.”
Francis failed to record a win in the 11 WoO LMS events he entered over the past month (including the Aug. 1 race at Eriez), but he rang up three top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He did enjoy the thrill of victory once, on July 23 at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky., when he accepted a last-minute offer to drive Chad Stapleton’s car and promptly guided it to the checkered flag in the high-banked track’s weekly 25-lap feature.
The month of July also included a rare in-season family vacation for Francis, who spent a week out west with his wife Amanda and 11-year-old daughter Alexis. They visited, among other places, Las Vegas, DisneyLand, Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier and the Grand Canyon.
Francis returns to action this week with a WoO LMS trip to the Upper Midwest for events on Wed., Aug. 4, at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway (50 laps, $10,000 to win) and Aug. 5-7 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. (the 23rd annual USA Nationals topped by a $50,000-to-win 100-lapper).
Fans can stay up-to-date on all the latest Steve Francis news and information by visiting his Web site at www.stevefrancisracing.com.
Steve Francis Racing carries support from Valvoline, Rocket Chassis, Custom Racing Engines, Keyser’s Port City Racing, VP Race Fuels, Performance Rod & Custom, Harbaugh Amusement, Duralite Racing Wheels, Tim Logan Racing and Hoosier Racing Tire.