Francis Continues Hot Streak With Sunday-Night Victory At Tyler County Speedway
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
MIDDLEBOURNE, WV – May 31, 2009 – Steve Francis just wants to keep letting the good times roll.
The hottest driver on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series completed a nearly-perfect eastern swing on Sunday night, capturing the 40-lap ‘Legends of the Ring’ A-Main that highlighted the tour’s first-ever stop at Tyler County Speedway.
It was the second consecutive and fifth overall WoO LMS triumph of the season for Ashland, Ky.’s Francis, whose only loss in three starts over four days came last Thursday night when he cut a tire while leading with six laps remaining at Delaware International Speedway. He salvaged a third-place finish in that event and roared back on Saturday night to score a dominating win at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway.
“I’m just enjoying every minute of this,” Francis said of his hot streak, which has pushed him into the tour points lead by 34 points over defending champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. “When that dial’s at 12 o’clock you ride it, because you don’t know when it’s gonna fall to six.”
Sunday night’s program at the wide quarter-mile fairgrounds oval – the WoO LMS’s first event in West Virginia since October 2004 – was a prime example of how Francis and the Beitler Motorsports team have gotten completely in synch.
Francis, 41, vaulted from the fourth starting spot to second on the race’s opening lap. He chased 2006 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., until grabbing the lead on lap 18, then turned back a mid-race challenge from Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va., before pulling away following the A-Main’s only caution period on lap 26.
Shaver finished nearly a full straightaway behind Francis’s Reliable Painting/Valvoline Rocket, settling for a second-place finish in the Cosgrove Racing Rocket. It was his first WoO LMS start of the season.
Carrier, who led laps 1-17, faded to third in the Carl Grover Motorsports Rocket. Polesitter Paul Wilmoth Jr. of Clarksburg, W.Va., scored a career-best WoO LMS finish of fourth and Lanigan placed fifth after steering his Fusion Energy Rocket forward from the 14th starting spot and passing Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., for position on the final lap.
The timing of the race’s lone caution flag, which came after Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., stopped on the inside of turn four, effectively propelled Francis to a series-best 25th career Victory Lane appearance since 2004.
“I seen somebody under me, but I wasn’t sure who it was,” said Francis, who was threatened by Shaver after the halfway mark. “I figured it might be Shaver. I thought I knew what Shaver had put on for tires (hard-compound rubber), so it made sense that he would be coming on during a long green-flag run.
“But then the caution fell right when I needed it to. It was just the right time for me – (Shaver’s) hard tires were taking off, and my soft tires were backing up.
“That just shows how everything’s going well for us,” he concluded after pocketing $7,700 to move his season earnings to over $75,000. “That’s all you can say about it.”
Shaver was well aware that the caution flag doomed his chances of cooling off Francis.
“I needed green-flag laps for my hard tires,” said Shaver, who earned the $500 WoO LMS Bonus Bucks cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a tour event and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 in the series points standings. “After that caution my tires didn’t really fire until the last five laps. By that time it was too late.”
Richards, who competed in a tour event in his homestate for the first time since becoming a WoO LMS regular in 2005, was unable to climb higher than fifth before settling for a sixth-place finish. Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., finished seventh after battling back from a four-spot drop when he was knocked high on lap two moments after cracking the top five; Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., was eighth in Tracey Seymour’s No. 17; Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., placed a quiet ninth; and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., limped across the finish line in 10th with a crunched hood and busted radiator after Dohm bounced onto his car on the final circuit.
The fast-paced race took just over 12 minutes to complete.
A field of 39 cars was signed in for the event, which was run on a clear, cool evening in the northern hills of West Virginia.
Frank was fastest in Ohlins Shock Time Trials with a lap of 12.591 seconds. He earned a $50 bonus for his first fast-time honor on the WoO LMS since Sept. 16, 2007, at La Salle (Ill.) Speedway.
Heat winners were Francis, Shaver, Fuller and Carrier. The B-Mains were captured by Jared Hawkins of Fairmont, W.Va., and Butch McGill of West Union, W.Va.
The WoO LMS will be idle until June 18, when a visit to Ohsweken (Ont.) Speedway kicks off the Great Northern Tour. Eight races in a 10-day span will comprise the swing, which includes tracks in Ontario, Quebec, New York and Pennsylvania, and concludes with the $30,000-to-win Firecracker 100 on June 26-27 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series at Tyler County Speedway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (4) Steve Francis/40 $7,700
2. (3) Steve Shaver/40 $3,550
3. (2) Eddie Carrier Jr./40 $2,000
4. (1) Paul Wilmoth Jr./40 $1,700
5. (14) Darrell Lanigan/40 $2,100
6. (7) Josh Richards/40 $1,800
7. (5) Tim Fuller/40 $1,700
8. (9) Tim Dohm/40 $1,100
9. (10) Shane Clanton/40 $1,500
10. (6) Chub Frank/40 $1,500
11. (17) Jared Hawkins/40 $850
12. (11) Brady Smith/40 $1,300
13. (23) Brent Robinson/40 $1,000
14. (12) Rick Eckert/40 $1,240
15. (8) Vic Coffey/40 $1,210
16. (18) Butch McGill/40 $680
17. (20) Mike Benedum/40 $650
18. (15) Joe Loudin/40 $630
19. (19) Doug Horton/40 $620
20. (13) Clint Smith/39 $1,110
21. (21) Russell King/38 $600
22. (16) Jordan Bland/32 $1,100
23. (22) Steve Weigle/25 $600
24. (24) Dustin Hapka/14 $600
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Yellow Flags: 1 (Lap 26)
Lap Leaders: Carrier (1-17); Francis (18-40)
Provisional Starters: Robinson, Hapka
Rookie of the Race: Robinson ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Shaver ($500)
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 12.591
2. 32c-Vic Coffey/Caledonia, NY 12.663
3. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 12.729
4. 28-Eddie Carrier Jr./Salt Rock, WV 12.740
5. 19-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 12.764
6. 30-Steve Shaver/Vienna, WV 12.791
7. 19T-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 12.821
8. B1-Paul Wilmoth/Clarksburg, WV 12.891
9. 17T-Tim Dohm/Cross Lanes, WV 12.892
10. 12W-Rick Williams/Beckley, WV 12.893
11. 11-Tyler Reddick/Corning, CA 12.959
12. 12-Jordan Bland/Campbellsville, KY 12.972
13. 42-Chris Garnes/Evans, WV 12.993
14. 25-Shane Clanton/Locust Grove, GA 13.000
15. 75-Steve Weigle/Middlebourne, WV 13.003
16. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 13.003
17. 46-Doug Horton/Bruceton Mills, WV 13.003
18. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 13.009
19. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 13.032
20. 25B-Mike Benedum/Salem, WV 13.032
21. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 13.079
22. 18d-Danny Mitchell/Clarksburg, WV 13.134
23. 1MC-Butch McGill/West Union, WV 13.163
24. D1-Robbie Scott/Shinnston, WV 13.195
25. 18-Dustin Hapka/Grand Forks, ND 13.246
26. 15-Donnie Dotson/West Union, WV 13.253
27. 5-Joe Loudin/Buckhannon, WV 13.272
28. 13-Steve Wilmoth/Clarksburg, WV 13.291
29. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 13.303
30. 7-Dan Morrison/Newport, OH 13.373
31. 45-Nick Corbitt/Waverly, WV 13.426
32. 3-Brent Robinson/Smithfield, VA 13.514
33. K2-Kris Southern/Jane Lew, WV 13.534
34. 37-Jared Hawkins/Fairmont, WV 13.577
35. 32-Greg Baumberger/Jacksonburg, OH 13.577
36. 64-Marshall Wilbin/Charleston, WV 14.124
37. 18c-Chris Carpenter/Parkersburg, WV 14.288
38. 12s-Tracie Sampson/Lumberport, WV 14.597
39. 28T-Tyler Carpenter/Parkersburg, WV 15.105
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Francis, Frank, Dohm, C. Smith, Horton, King, Garnes, Hapka, Southern, C. Carpenter
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Shaver, Coffey, Clanton, Lanigan, Hawkins, Dotson, Mitchell, Morrison, Williams, Sampson
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Fuller, Richards, B. Smith, Loudin, McGill, Reddick, Baumberger, Weigle, Corbitt, T. Carpenter
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Carrier, P. Wilmoth, Eckert, Bland, Scott, Benedum, Robinson, S. Wilmoth, Wiblin
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): Hawkins, Horton, King, Dotson, Morrison, Garnes, C. Carpenter, Southern, Sampson, Mitchell, Hapka (DNS) Williams
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 3 Transfer): McGill, Benedum, Weigle, Wiblin, Corbitt, Baumberger, Robinson, S. Wilmoth, Scott, T. Carpenter, Reddick
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
* Arizona Sport Shirts ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in B-Mains): Dan Morrison, Nick Corbitt
* Armor All (case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Steve Shaver
* Champ Pans ($50 product certificate to ‘Bonus Bucks’ winner w/decal): Steve Shaver
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to A-Main winner w/decal): Steve Francis
* Crane Cams ($100 cash award to 10th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Chub Frank
* Crane Cams ($100 product certificate to Heat 3 winner w/decal): Tim Fuller
* Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner w/decal): Jared Hawkins, Butch McGill
* Fusion Energy ($50 cash award to Heat 2 winner w/decal): Steve Shaver
* Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash award to fast qualifier w/decal): Chub Frank
* Quarter-Master ($100 product certificate to A-Main winner w/decal): Steve Francis
* Quarter-Master ($50 product certificate to fifth-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Darrell Lanigan
* Quarter-Master ($25 product certificate to 15th-place finisher in A-Main w/decal): Vic Coffey
* Super Clean ‘Start of the Race’ (one case of product): Eddie Carrier Jr.
* VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two free VP five-gallon containers to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Tyler Reddick
* Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Steve Francis
2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of May 31 – 14 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/wins/top-5s/top-10s/earnings/points/deficit to leader):
1. Steve Francis 5-9-11-$75,680-1865 (-0)
2. Darrell Lanigan 0-6-11-$62,000-1831 (-34)
3. Josh Richards 1-7-10-$53,820-1821 (-44)
4. Shane Clanton 1-2-11-$45,000-1819 (-46)
5. Rick Eckert 1-5-9-$34,985-1809 (-56)
6. Tim Fuller 0-2-7-$25,880-1765 (-100)
7. Chub Frank 0-2-9-$27,300-1759 (-106)
8. Brady Smith 0-5-7-$31,475-1740 (-125)
9. Clint Smith 0-0-5-$21,940-1663 (-202)
10. Vic Coffey 0-0-1-$15,650-1518 (-347)
11. Shannon Babb 1-4-7-$42,330-1395 (-470)
12. Jordan Bland 0-0-0-$14,030-1393 (-472)
13. Russell King 0-0-1-$11,820-1378 (-487)
14. Brent Robinson 0-0-0-$6,810-1314 (-551)
15. Dustin Hapka 0-0-0-$6,310-1237 (-628)
16. Tyler Reddick 0-0-0-$3,435-1118 (-747)
17. Austin Hubbard 0-1-2-$7,805-731 (-1134)
18. Dale McDowell 0-2-3-$12,400-717 (-1148)
19. Dennis Erb Jr. 0-0-1-$5,010-657 (-1208)
20. Chris Madden 1-3-3-$20,000-615 (-1250)
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 the 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 [email protected]