Francis Banks 40 Gs At Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Steve Francis grabbed the lead from Brady Smith on lap 71 and cruised on to win the ninth annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway.
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, Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Owens.
“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,” Francis said. “The payoff is awesome. You can start anywhere here and win. I don’t know what else to say, this is fantastic.”
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 10th. 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.”
Steve Francis, Brady Smith, Brian Birkhofer, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar, Don O’Neal, Billy Moyer, Chad Simpson, Jonathan Davenport, Will Vaught, Denis Erb Jr., John Blankenship, John Anderson, Kent Robinson, Bub McCool, Donnie Moran, Tyler Reddick, Jared Landers, Austin Hubbard, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tim McCreadie, Jason Feger, Terry Phillips, Morgan Bagley, Shannon Babb, Eric Wells, Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Mars, Denny Eckrich, Terry Casey, Mark Burgtorf, Brian Shirley.