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Steve Francis Superior in Winning Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals

Sunday September 30, 2012


Steve Francis of Ashland, KY grabbed the lead from Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI on lap 71 and cruised on to win the 9th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals on Saturday Night at Knoxville, IA. Before the biggest crowd in the history of the event, Francis and team owner Barry Wright took home $40,000 for the victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event.

The 100-lap event saw five different drivers taking their place at the front of the pack, but Francis, who started fifth, stormed by Smith in traffic and battled even more traffic the rest of the way to pick up the victory for the series regular. Smith finished second followed by Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA; Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN; and Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN.

“This is the best track for Late Models in the country, no disrespect to any other track, but this is just a phenomenal place to race, the payoff is awesome, you can start anywhere here and win, I don’t know what else to say, this is fantastic,” said the 45-year-old who added the win at Knoxville to his $40,000 victory in the COMP Cams Topless 10 at Batesville (AR) Motor Speedway back in August.

Francis, who finished third on Thursday Night and second in Friday Night’s preliminary, said the crew tweaked the car to get it to victory lane Saturday night. “This is my first win here, someone can be off by just a tick and run tenth, we made the right decisions these few days and it paid off, I had a heck of a battle with Birky there for a while and then I caught Brady in traffic. I had to watch it there at the end in traffic, but the car handled so well, I have to thank Barry and Lance Wright, this team just gets along so well.”

“I have to thank Valvoline, without them this wouldn’t be possible, Nichols Plumbing, JRI Shocks, AES Racing, Mathis Farms, VP Fuels and of course Barry Wright Race Cars and Clements Racing Engines.”

Completing the top ten were Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN; 29th starting, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN; Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR; 28th starting, Chad Simpson of Mt. Vernon, IA; and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, GA.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Race Summary

Saturday Night, September 29th, 2012
9th Annual Lucas Oil “Late Model Knoxville Nationals”
Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, IA

JRi Shocks D-Main (12 Laps – Top 7 Transfer to C-Main): Steve Lance, John Mason, Darrel DeFrance, Skip Frey, Chad Chenoweth, Curt Schroeder, Alonzo Grosse, Junior Coover, Mike Wallace, Scott Lewis, Jay Johnson-DNS, Walker Arthur-DNS, Nick Marolf-DNS, Jill George-DNS, Paul Glendenning-DNS, Dustin Walker-DNS

PAC Racing Springs C-Main (15 Laps – Top 4 Transfer to B-Main): Chris Simpson, Tyler Bruening, Tim Lance, Ryan Unzicker, Rob Moss, Mike Spatola, Andy Eckrich, Chase Junghaus, Jeff Larson, Jake Meier, Ray Moore, Rick Wendling, Brian Diede, John Duty, John Mason, Alonzo Grosse, Chad Chenoweth, Curt Schroeder, Kevin Sather, Charlie McKenna, Jason Utter, Darrel DeFrance, Skip Frey, Steve Lance

JRi Shocks B-Main (20 Laps – Top 6 Transfer to Feature): Dennis Erb, Jr., Donnie Moran, Tim McCreadie, Chad Simpson, Don O’Neal, Austin Hubbard, Eric Wells, Jared Landers, John Blankenship, Chris Simpson, Matt Furman, Tim Lance, Bobby Pierce, Tim Isenberg, Ray Guss, Jr., Billy Moyer, Jr., Rich Bell, Mike Fryer, Tyler Bruening, Ryan Unzicker, Jesse Stovall, Jason Rauen, JR Hotovy, Dave Eckrich

Feature Finish – 100 Laps


1 5 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY
2 4 2 Brady Smith Solon Springs, WI
3 7 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA
4 1 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN
5 2 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN
6 6 5b Mike Marlar Winfield, TN
7 29 71 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN
8 9 21 Billy Moyer Batesville, AR
9 28 25c Chad Simpson Mt. Vernon, IA
10 15 15d Jonathan Davenport Blairsville, GA
11 21 1v Will Vaught Crane, MO
12 25 28e Dennis Erb, Jr. Carpentersville, IL
13 31 23 John Blankenship Williamson, WV
14 19 2a John Anderson Omaha, NE
15 10 7R Kent Robinson Bloomington, IN
16 23 57J Bub McCool Vicksburg, MS
17 26 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH
18 11 11T Tyler Reddick Corning, CA
19 32 5 Jared Landers Batesville, AR
20 30 11h Austin Hubbard Seaford, DE
21 20 99JR Frank Heckenast, Jr. Frankfort, IL
22 27 39 Tim McCreadie Watertown, NY
23 18 25F Jason Feger Bloomington, IL
24 14 75 Terry Phillips Springfield, MO
25 12 14m Morgan Bagley Tyler, TX
26 8 18 Shannon Babb Mowequa, IL
27 33 18e Eric Wells Hazard, KY
28 22 44 Earl Pearson, Jr. Jacksonville, FL
29 16 28m Jimmy Mars Menomonie, WI
30 13 50 Denny Eckrich Tiffan, IA
31 24 42c Terry Casey New London, WI
32 17 15R Mark Burgtorf Quincy, IL
33 3 3s Brian Shirley Chatham, IL

Race Statistics

Entrants: 80

Lap Leaders: Jimmy Owens (Laps 1 – 2); Scott Bloomquist (Laps 3 – 12); Brady Smith (13 – 25); Brian Birkhofer (Lap 26); Brady Smith (Laps 27 – 70)Steve Francis (71 – 100)

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: John Blankenship, Jared Landers

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: Eric Wells

Red Buck Fast Time Provisional: none

Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Don O’Neal (Started 29th; Finished 7th; Advanced 22 positions)

Allstar Performer of the Race: Steve Francis

Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Jimmy Owens

ASi Racewear Challenge Finisher: Steve Francis

Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: Jonathan Davenport

COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Vic Hill Racing Engines

Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Barry Wright Race Cars

Sweet Mfg Crew Chief of the Race: Lance Wright (Steve Francis)

Time of Race: 57 minutes 01 seconds

Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:


1 20 Jimmy Owens Newport, TN 7440
2 71 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN 7065
3 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN 7030
4 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY 6865
5 23 John Blankenship Williamson, WV 6410
6 44 Earl Pearson, Jr. Jacksonville, FL 6310
7 15d Jonathan Davenport Blairsville, GA 6070
8 11T Tyler Reddick Corning, CA 5935
9 5 Jared Landers Batesville, AR 5870
10 18e Eric Wells Hazard, KY 5755

Points are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day

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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.


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