Steve Francis Wins Again at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway Capturing Second Straight Early Bird Classi


Staff member

By James Essex
CALVERT CITY, KY (March 17, 2007)-Steve Francis of Ashland, KY scored his second consecutive “Early Bird Classic” victory on Saturday Night at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway. The 39 year old driver grabbed the lead from defending Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway track champion Terry English on lap 21 and stormed away from the field to pick up the $10,000 payday. Francis was driving the Tim Logan Racing/Morehead Auto Truck Parts Sales/Rick’s Body Shop/J&M Grafix/Russell Baker Racing Engines/Rocket Monte Carlo. Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR came from the 17th starting spot to finish second in his Car City/Pro Power Engines/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo. Taking third was Terry English of Benton, KY in his AAA Fence, Inc/ARC Racing Engines/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo with Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, WI coming in fourth in his Miller Brothers Coal/Pro Power Engines/C.J. Rayburn Ford Fusion and Brian Harris of Davenport, IA finished fifth in his Iowa-Illinois Taylor Insulation/Reynolds Motor Company/MasterSbilt Grand Prix. A total of 48 cars were on hand for the 3rd Annual event.

English by virtue of winning the first heat race earned the pole starting spot with second heat race winner Dan Schlieper starting alongside. English would take the lead at the drop of the green flag with Schlieper and the fifth place starting Steve Francis already up to third with one lap scored. English would start to build up his lead over Schlieper with a fast moving Shannon Babb taking the high groove route bringing his number 18 to fourth early in the race and then he went side by side with Francis for three circuits before clearing him for third on lap five.

With English firmly entrenched in the top spot Babb started to pressure Schlieper for second with Babb sliding by Schlieper on the outside on lap seven. The first caution of only two cautions during the race came out after lap seven was scored for Bryan Barber. When the race went green again English was still showing the way with heat from Babb, Schlieper, Francis and Dave Hess, Jr.

Babb’s run would end prematurely on lap nine when the left rear tire rolled off of his car putting him out of the race. Babb stopped on the track bringing out the final caution of the race which would then set up 41 straight laps of green flag racing to close the race out.

After the Babb caution English would get a battle from Schlieper and Francis with Justin Rattliff now running fourth followed by Iowa invader, Brian Harris. Francis would pull alongside Schlieper as the two would race side by side for two laps with Francis emerging with second place on lap 15.

By lap 20 English was really being challenged for the point with Francis all over him. Francis would be able to overhaul English for the race lead on lap 21. By the halfway mark it Francis the new man on top with English, Harris, Schlieper and 17th place starter Billy Moyer now running in the top five.

Moyer was really on the move now as he swept past both Harris and Schlieper as he became the new third place car. Moyer then gained ground quickly on English and without the aid of any more caution flags Moyer would use his skill to track down and pass English for second on lap 38.

With the laps winding down it was all Francis who was looking for yet another big win at Kentucky Lake as he had a big lead over Moyer and the rest of the field. With Francis working his way through traffic with ease Moyer was unable to gain much ground in the closing laps on Francis as Francis would go on to score his second straight win in this event.

In victory lane Francis was expressed his thoughts about racing at Kentucky Lake. “Man I really love racing at this place, it’s been real good to me, and I just hope I can come back here this year.” “I want to thank Tim Logan and the crew for all of their help on the car, it was setup perfectly and I could drive it anywhere on the track, English and Babb were strong there early but once we got in front we really settled down and the car was great.”

Moyer finished second after advancing 15 positions to earn the Hard Charger of the Race. English wound up third with Schlieper and Harris completing the top five.

Rounding out the top ten were Justin Rattliff, Michael England, Billy James, Wendell Wallace and Brad Neat.

In preliminary action Justin Rattliff was the overall fast qualifier with a time of 15.192 seconds. The five heat race winners were Terry English, Dan Schlieper, Dave Hess, Jr., Shannon Babb and Steve Francis. The two B-mains were taken by Garrett Durrett and John Tindal.

The open wheel modified feature saw an exciting lap final five lap shootout between Kent Robinson and Kevin Weaver as the pair went side by side in the waning moments of the race until Robinson was able to pull away to take the biggest win of his young racing career taking the $5,000 first place prize back to Bloomington, IN. Robinson started fifth on the grid and worked his way to front and had inherited the lead by lap seven when race leader Jeff Elliott broke. Robinson then held the lead until Weaver, the veteran Late Model driver pulled even with five laps to go. The two raced clean side by side for three circuits with Robinson eventually pulling away for the win.

Robinson who came into the race with two career victories (both worth $500) was behind the wheel of the JB’s Salvage/Westside Auto Parts/Indiana Decal Company/Pets Alive Spay and Neuter Clinic/Universal Products and Services/Bill Kerr Racing Engines/Loose Gruff Chassis number 7. Weaver finished second followed by Chad Kinder, Billy Tuckwell and Bobby Bittle.

In preliminary Modified action there were heat races run for the 87 entries with Jeff Elliott, Matt Goulden, Kevin Weaver, Shawn Cates, Kent Robinson, Trent Young, Todd Miller and Billy Tuckwell the victors. The B-Mains were won by Brandon Dierlam, Denny Schwartz, Stanley Donahoo and McKay Wenger.

Race Summary
Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway-Calvert City, KY
Saturday, March 17, 2007

U.M.P. Late Models

First Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Terry English, Denny Woodworth, Michael England, Davis Breazeale, Mark Voigt, Bryan Barber, Scott Riggs, Brian Collins (DNS), Chris Shelton (DNS)

Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Dan Schlieper, Wendell Wallace, Kevin Cole, Billy Moyer, Brian Shirley, Greg Johnson, Brian Ruhlman, Jordan Bland, Phil Walker

Third Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Dave Hess, Jr., Justin Rattliff, Donnie Moran, Brad Neat, Garrett Durrett, John Tindal, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Jeff Beyers, Jason Rauen

Fourth Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Shannon Babb, Billy James, Patrick Sheltra, Tim Tungate, Dusty Carver, Rex Berry, Jason Jameson, Tyler Boggs, Eric Jacobsen (DNS)

Fifth Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Steve Francis, Brian Harris, Jerry Rice, Rodney Melvin, Dylan Thompson, Dewayne Hottinger, Todd Hall, Jon Kirby, Billy Moyer, Jr., Craig Smith, Randle Sweeney (DNSW)

First B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Garrett Durrett, Jason Rauen, Todd Hall, Rex Berry, Mark Voigt, Billy Moyer, Jr., Jeff Beyers, Scott Riggs, Jon Kirby, Dylan Thompson, Greg Johnson, Frank Heckenast, Jr.,

Second B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 4 Advance): John Tindal, Bryan Barber, Dewayne Hottinger, Tyler Boggs, Jordan Bland, Brian Ruhlman, Dusty Carver, Jason Jameson, Phil Walker, Brian Shirley

3rd Annual Early Bird Classis Feature Finish: (50 Laps): Steve Francis, Billy Moyer, Terry English, Dan Schlieper, Brian Harris, Justin Rattliff, Michael England, Billy James, Wendell Wallace, Brad Neat, John Tindal, Denny Woodworth, David Breazeale, Kevin Cole, Garrett Durrett, Dave Hess, Jr., Patrick Sheltra, Jason Rauen, Donnie Moran, Rodney Melvin, Tim Tungate, Shannon Babb, Bryan Barber, Jerry Rice

Race Statistics:
Entries: 48
Caution Flags: 2
Red Flags: 0
Lap Leaders: Terry English 1-20, Steve Francis 21-50
Hard Charger of the Race: Billy Moyer (Started 17th and Finished 2nd Advanced 15 Positions)

U.M.P. Open Wheel Modifieds:

Feature: (30 Laps): Kent Robinson, Kevin Weaver, Chad Kinder, Billy Tuckwell, Bobby Bittle, Matt Goulden, Andy Bishop, Todd Miller, Jason Lakey, Jeff Horst, Ray Walsh, Gary Cook, Jr., Stanley Donahoo, Jeff Parks, Denny Schwartz, Trent Young, Brian Shaw, Shawn Cates, Jeff Elliott, Chad Evans, Jeff Leka, Wayne Jones. McKay Wenger, Brandon Dierlam