Steve Francis didn't take home the big $50,000 first-place check in the North-South 100 on Aug. 14 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., but he was pretty pleased with his fourth-place performance in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event. Driving his crew chief Tim Logan's Rocket No. 15, Francis started sixth and ran among the leaders for the entire distance. He climbed as high as second before falling back and spending the final circuits holding off Ray Cook to finish fourth.
"I got right to the lead twice and then the caution came out," said Francis, who dueled with frontrunners that included eventual winner Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Don O'Neal and Eddie Carrier Jr. "Then we couldn’t fire up on the restarts like they could, so we kinda got shuffled around a little bit on each restart and had to work our way back. We kind of overheated the tires and sealed the right-rear up racing so hard with O’Neal and Eddie early in the race.
"But we had a pretty good car – the best car we’ve had at Florence in a while. We went there earlier this year for the Ralph Latham race – a race I’ve won two or three times – and to miss it was kind of hard for me to handle, so to be able to go back and run well was a big positive. We qualified good, won our heat race and were competitive the whole 100 laps – that kind of shows that everybody’s working hard and we’re headed in the right direction."