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Incredible Finish Goes to Francis at East Bay

Steve Francis

Steve Francis

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THE ACTION AT EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK!

TAMPA, FL (February 16, 2012) – Steve Francis passed Austin Hubbard coming off of turn four on the final lap of tonight’s 35-lap DART Winternationals feature. Francis took home $7,000 for his win. In a thrilling finish, Hubbard finished second, followed by Dennis Erb Jr., Don O’Neal, and Jared Landers. With the win, Francis notched his ninth career victory at East Bay Raceway Park and his sixth career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series triumph.

The main events have been packed with excitement all week. Tonight fans saw another “barn-burner” of a main event. Hubbard was poised to win his first-ever win at East Bay and his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory when he took the lead on lap 13 from Erb.

The young driver led the field for most of the race until a caution came out on lap 33. This set up a two-lap showdown between Hubbard and Francis. Hubbard dashed out in front of Francis on the restart and led until the final turn. Francis took to the outside groove of the track and powered out of turn four. The crowd jumped to their feet and roared with excitement as the pair came across the finish line with Francis barely ahead of Hubbard.

Steve Francis

Steve Francis

“I have to thank my Crew Chief Lance Wright, under that last caution he signaled for me to go to the top of the track. It looked like there was enough moisture in the track tonight, even at the end, so I knew Lance was right. I was able to get into three and four really well. He (Hubbard) left a small opening on the outside, I took it and was just fortunate enough to get by him,” said the 44-year old.

“I want to thank Barry Wright and everybody at the race shop, Clements Race Engines, Valvoline, Nichols Plumbing, JRi Shocks, Mathis Farms, and AES Racing for all of their support. The deal for me to drive for Barry didn’t come together until mid-December, and I am really glad that it did.”

Francis will be following the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series full-time again this year. His 2012 season is off to an excellent start with this win. “It’s good to finally be back in victory lane here at East Bay, it’s been a few years. One thing’s for certain, we aren’t going winless this year,” said a smiling Francis. “The track has been in excellent shape all week thanks to Al, Todd, and the entire crew here at East Bay. They have finished in a timely fashion and had some great racing.”

Completing the top ten were Wednesday Night’s winner Ray Cook, Terry Casey, Donnie Moran, John Blankenship, and Shannon Babb.

In preliminary action Shannon Babb was the Red Buck Cigar’s Fast Qualifier amongst the 44 entrants. Heat races were won by Donnie Moran, Steve Francis, Dennis Erb Jr., and Austin Hubbard. Bobby Pierce and Eric Jacobsen recorded B-main wins. Earl Pearson Jr. captured the PRC Strawberry Dash.

Up next at the DART Winternationals will be a $10,000 to win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event on Friday night, February 17th at the famed “Clay by the Bay”. Hot laps will begin at 6:00PM followed by Red Buck Cigar Time Trials. Heat race action is slated to get underway at 7 PM, followed by B-Mains, and the 50-lap main event. For more information, check out www.eastbayracewaypark.com.

For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.lucasdirt.com or call the series’ office at (951) 532-2503.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Race Summary

Thursday Night, February 16, 2012

36th Annual DART Winternationals

East Bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL

Red Buck Cigars Fast Time:

Ray Cook / 14.615 seconds (Group A)

Shannon Babb / 14.561 seconds (Group B and Overall)

Wiles Driveshafts First Heat (8 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Ray Cook, Donnie Moran, Randy Korte, John Blankenship, Jonathan Davenport, Josh McGuire, Chad Hollenbeck, Earl Pearson, Jr., Shane Cottle, Todd Frank, Doug Blashe

U. S. Steel Second Heat (8 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Steve Francis, Don O’Neal, Jared Landers, Bobby Pierce, Dillan White, Mark Andersen, Scott Creel, Victor Lee, Leon Henderson, Pat Ehlert, Terry Naugle-DNS

Simpson Performance Products Third Heat (8 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Dennis Erb Jr., Shannon Babb, Terry Casey, Scott James , Eric Jacobsen, Scott Bloomquist, Duke Whiseant, Chris Brown, Travis Varnadore, James O’Hara, Jackie Nosbisch

HAWK Brakes Fourth Heat (8 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Austin Hubbard, Shelby Miles, Eric Wells, Tyler Reddick, Kevin Cole, Morgan Bagley, Jason Riggs, Danny Mitchell, Justin Rattliff, Chad Stapleton-DNS, Jimmy Owens-DNS

JRi Shocks First B-Main (10 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Bobby Pierce, Josh McGuire, Victor Lee, Chad Hollenbeck, Mark Andersen, Jonathan Davenport, Todd Frank, Doug Blashe, Earl Pearson, Jr., Scott Creel, Shane Cottle, Leon Henderson, Terry Naugle

PAC Racing Springs Second B-Main (10 Laps- Top 4 Advance): Eric Jacobsen, Scott Bloomquist, Jason Riggs, Duke Whiseant, Morgan Bagley, Chris Brown, Travis Varnadore, MPat Ehlert, James O’Hara, Jimmy Owens, Kevin Cole, Danny Mitchell, Justin Rattliff, Jackie Nosbisch-DNS, Chad Stapleton-DNS

PRC Strawberry Dash Presented by DirtonDirt.com (3 Laps- Winner Advances): Earl Pearson Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chris Brown

Feature Finish – 35 Laps:

FINISH START CAR # DRIVER NAME HOMETOWN
1 3 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY
2 4 11h Austin Hubbard Seaford, DE
3 2 28e Dennis Erb, Jr. Carpentersville, IL
4 7 71 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN
5 11 5 Jared Landers Batesville, AR
6 5 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC
7 10 42c Terry Casey New London, WI
8 1 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH
9 9 23 John Blankenship Williamson, WV
10 6 18 Shannon Babb Mowequa, IL
11 8 76 Shelby Miles Bloomington, IN
12 16 11T Tyler Reddick Corning, CA
13 12 18e Eric Wells Hazard, KY
14 13 81x Randy Korte Highland, IL
15 26 44 Earl Pearson, Jr. Jacksonville, FL
16 15 54W Dillan White Crofton, KY
17 18 5J Eric Jacobsen Watsonville, CA
18 19 41 Josh McGuire Grayson, KY
19 20 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN
20 25 15d Jonathan Davenport Blairsville, GA
21 21 4L Victor Lee Danville, KY
22 23 4-Ds Chad Hollenbeck Montrose, PA
23 24 A1 Duke Whiseant Texarkana, AR
24 14 81 Scott James Lawrenceburg, IN
25 17 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL
26 22 81JR Jason Riggs Harrisburg, IL

 

 

 

 

Race Statistics

Entrants: 43

Lap Leaders: Dennis Erb Jr. (Laps 1 – 12); Austin Hubbard (Laps 13 – 34); Steve Francis (Lap 35)

Caution Flags: Scott James (Lap 29); Duke Whiseant (Lap 33)

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: n/a

DirtonDirt.com Fast Time Provisional: Johnanthan Davenport

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisional: n/a

Performance Bodies First Non-Qualifier: Jimmy Owens

Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Earl Pearson Jr. (Started 26th; Finished 15th; Advanced 11 positions)

Allstar Performer of the Race: Jared Landers

Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Austin Hubbard

ASi Racewear Challenge Finisher: Steve Francis

Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: n/a

COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Clements 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: 17 minutes 42 seconds

 

DART Winternationals Point Standings:

POS CAR# DRIVER POINTS
1 71 Don O’Neal 865
2 15 Steve Francis 840
3 28e Dennis Erb, Jr. 810
4 53 Ray Cook 800
5 23 John Blankenship 765
6 0 Scott Bloomquist 760
7 81x Randy Korte 730
8 42c Terry Casey 715
8 5J Eric Jacobsen 715
10 18e Eric Wells 645

2012 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Schedule 

Venue

Track City, State To Win

13-Feb

East Bay Raceway Park Tampa, FL

$5,000

14-Feb

East Bay Raceway Park Tampa, FL

$5,000

15-Feb

East Bay Raceway Park Tampa, FL

$7,000

16-Feb

East Bay Raceway Park Tampa, FL

$7,000

17-Feb

East Bay Raceway Park Tampa, FL

$10,000

18-Feb

East Bay Raceway Park Tampa, FL

$10,000

24-Mar

Brownstown Speedway Brownstown, IN

$10,000

30-Mar

Jackson Motor Speedway Jackson, MS

$10,000

31-Mar

Lonestar Speedway Kilgore, TX

$10,000

13,14-Apr

Virginia Motor Speedway Saluda, VA

$25,000

20-Apr

Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex Markleysburg, PA

$10,000

21-Apr

Hagerstown Speedway Hagerstown, MD

$10,000

4-May

Tri-City Speedway Pontoon Beach, IL

$10,000

5-May

Paducah International Raceway Paducah, KY

$10,000

11-May

Hartford Motor Speedway Hartford, MI

$10,000

12-May

La Salle Speedway La Salle, IL

$10,000

18,19-May

Batesville Motor Speedway Batesville, AR

$20,000

25,26-May

Lucas Oil Speedway Wheatland, MO

$30,000

1-Jun

Tazewell Speedway Tazewell, TN

$10,000

2-Jun

Florence Speedway Florence, KY

$10,000

22-Jun

Cherokee Speedway Gaffney, SC

$10,000

23-Jun

Wythe Raceway Rural Retreat, VA

$10,000

1-Jul

Portsmouth Raceway Park Portsmouth, OH

$10,000

3-Jul

Muskingum County Speedway Zanesville, OH

$10,000

6,7-Jul

Magnolia Motor Speedway Columbus, MS

$20,000

13-Jul

Tri-City Speedway Pontoon Beach, IL

$10,000

14-Jul

Lucas Oil Speedway Wheatland, MO

$10,000

20,21-Jul

I-80 Speedway Greenwood, NE

$25,000

24-Jul

Stateline Speedway Busti, NY

$10,000

25-Jul

Utica Rome Speedway Vernon, NY

$10,000

26-Jul

Fonda Speedway Fonda, NY

$10,000

28-Jul

Hagerstown Speedway Hagerstown, MD

$10,000

10,11-Aug

Florence Speedway Florence, KY

$50,000

17,18-Aug

Batesville Motor Speedway Batesville, AR

$40,000

23-Aug

Volunteer Speedway Bulls Gap, TN

$10,000

25-Aug

Lawrenceburg Speedway Lawrenceburg, IN

$10,000

31-Aug, 1-Sep

Portsmouth Raceway Park Portsmouth, OH

$20,000

2-Sep

I-77 Raceway Park Ripley, WV

$25,000

14,15-Sep

Virginia Motor Speedway Saluda, VA

$20,000

21,22-Sep

Brownstown Speedway Brownstown, IN

$20,000

27-Sep

Knoxville Raceway Knoxville, IA

$7,000

28-Sep

Knoxville Raceway Knoxville, IA

$7,000

29-Sep

Knoxville Raceway Knoxville, IA

$40,000

6-Oct

Dixie Speedway Woodstock, GA

$10,000

7-Oct

Rome International Speedway Rome, GA

$10,000

19,20-Oct

Portsmouth Raceway Park Portsmouth, OH

$50,000

2012 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Sponsors

ASI Racewear – “The Official Merchandise Vendor” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Canidae Pet Foods – “The Official Pet Foods” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

DART Machinery – “The Official Engine Components” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

E3 Spark Plugs – “The Official Spark Plug” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Geico – “The Official Insurance” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

General Tire – “The Official Tire” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Hoosier Tire – “The Official Race Tire” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Lucas Oil Products – “The Official Oil” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

MavTV – “The Official Men’s Network” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Optima Batteries – “The Official Battery” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Speedco – “The Official Truck Lube and Tire Center” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Sunoco Race Fuels – “The Official Fuel” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

U. S. Steel – “The Official Steel Manufacturer” of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

2012 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Supporters Include:

Allstar Performance, American Racer, Banshee Graphics, Barry Wright Race Cars, Bloomquist Race Cars, COMP Cams, Chizmark Larson Insurance, Cornett Racing Engines, Cruise with the Champions, CV Products, DirtonDirt.com, Dyers Top Rods, ECR Race Engines, Eibach Springs, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, Gaerte Engines, GRT Race Cars, Hawk Performance, Jay Dickens Racing Engines, JE Pistons, JRi Shocks, Keyser MFG, Longhorn Chassis, MasterSbilt Chassis, Öhlins, Outerwears, PBM/Erson Cams,

PAC Racing Springs, Performance Bodies, Pierce Racecars, PRC, Pro Power Racing, Quarter Master, Race Engine Design, Red Buck Cigars, Rhyne Race Engines, Rick Schwallie Photography, Ringers Gloves, Rocket Chassis, Roush Yates Engines, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Simpson Performance Products, Sweet Mfg, Vic Hill Race Engines, Weld Racing Wheels, Wiles Drive Shafts, Wrisco, 5150 Race Trailers.

James Essex, Public Relations Coordinator, jessex@lucasdirt.com

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