Hometown: Ashland, Kentucky
Birthdate: September 10, 1967
Marital Status: Married (Amanda)
Born and raised in Ashland, KY, Steve Francis began racing cars at fifteen years old. Working along side his father and brother, the Francis family began a racing program that would eventually lead to one of the top dirt late model racing organizations in the country. Steve started racing on a regular basis in and around the Bluegrass State in 1983.
Steve Francis scored his first dirt late model feature event in the state of Virginia in 1984, which began a steak of victories that would continue on to present day with well over 200 feature wins. With limited major sponsorship funding for Steve Francis Racing, Francis started racing in regional competition along with select national touring series events through the mid-1980′s and early 1990′s. Along the way, Francis earned numerous driver honors such as “most improved driver” and gained the respect of his competitors.
Steve Francis’ first major sanctioned feature win came in 1992 at Putnam County Speedway in Florida in the former STARS Renegade DirtCar Series now known as the Renegade DirtCar Series (RDCS), based in Ohio. Francis can contribute the majority of his success to his days in the STARS Series where Francis won three consecutive series championships (1996, 1997, and 1998) along with being the first driver to accomplish this feat. Steve’s success with the RDCS began in 1994 when Francis visited victory lane three times in RDCS sanctioned events and rounded the year out in second place in the series championship points chase. In 1996, Steve finally tasted championship gold when he won his first of three STARS championships along with four STARS sanctioned wins. Francis followed up the next two seasons with a combined six STARS victories and two championship trophies.
Steve was the first driver to claim three consecutive Renegade Dirt Car Series championship titles and is aiming to be the first driver to win championship gold in both the RDCS and the XDCS.
In 1997, Steve Francis was given one of the highest honors in the state of Kentucky. For Francis’ achievements in the arena of auto racing, the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky recognized Steve as an “official and honorary” Kentucky Colonel. Francis is also a long time member of Team USA representing the best drivers on dirt in global competition in Australia.
Steve Francis expanded his racing resume in 1999 by claiming several of short track auto racing’s biggest events. 1999 witnessed the Kentucky Colonel record victories in the Dirt Track World Championship (West Virginia Motor Speedway), the prestigious World 100 at the famous Eldora Speedway, the Big Johnson Championship, and the Commonwealth Cup at Kentucky Motor Speedway, a win worth $70,000. Steve also finished 4th in the former United Dirt Track Racing Association Hav-A-Tampa Series (HAT) now known as the Xtreme DirtCar Series (XDCS), championship point standings with three season wins at Thunder Valley Speedway (Glenmora, LA – Apr 10, 1999), the “Ironman 100″ Florence Speedway (Union, KY – Jul 10, 1999), and the “Route 66 Showdown” Joplin 66 Raceway (Joplin, MO – Sep 29, 1999). 1999 was Steve’s first full time season in the Hav-A-Tampa series. Steve capped off the 1999 season with 9 wins in 55 events with 23 top-5 and 40 top-10 finishes along with 7 pole awards.
Entering the new millennium, Steve started the 2000 season with sponsorship from the Valvoline Company and embarked on his quest to become the first driver in Motorsports history to claim championship titles on the Renegade Dirt Car Series and the former Untied Dirt Track Racing Association. Throughout the 2000 season, Francis gave Valvoline their first victory in dirt late model competition with a win in the non-sanctioned “Mountain Dew Mountain Momma 100″ at West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells, WV. Francis also captured six additional checkered flags in the 2000 season with five on those coming in the former HAT one former STARS victory. Francis finished second in HAT championship standings and rounded out the season with 53 top-10 and 35 top-5 finishes in 62 starts.
Rolling into 2001, Francis retained his sponsorship with Valvoline and acquired additional primary sponsorship from Mopar Performance Parts thus the Kentucky Colonel embarked on claiming championship gold. Steve claimed three major feature wins during 2001 and rounded out the season with 36 top-5 and 36 top -10 finishes in 63 starts. Francis’ three winner’s trophies in 2001 came in the former Untied Dirt Track Racing Association, now Xtreme DirtCar Series, Renegade DirtCar Series, and the Mid Atlantic Championship Series. Steve finished off the season with a 2rd place finish in the Untied Dirt Track Racing Association final championship point standings.
Starting in 2002, Francis expanded his racing operation by joining efforts with long time friend and chassis builder, Mark Richards of Rocket Chassis in 2002 by becoming the “Rocket House Car” driver for Mark Richards Enterprises – Rocket Chassis. Francis’ 2002 campaign with Rocket Chassis, Mopar, and Valvoline registered the Kentucky native another three wins with two of those wins coming on the UDTRA and RDCS tours. Steve posted wins at West Virginia Motor Speedway, Mineral Wells, WV, Allegheny Co. Speedway (MD), and KC Raceway in Chillicothe, OH. Including the three feature wins and fourteen heat race wins, Francis captured four fastest qualifier awards with his Gary Stanton built Mopar engine and ended the season 3rd in UDTRA points.
With a fifth consecutive top-five national championship point finish, Francis rounded out the 2003 season with six national sanctioned feature wins, 31 top-5 and 54 top-10 finishes. Steve’s season was highlighted by giving Valvoline and Mopar back to back wins on the Xtreme DirtCar Series, career first victories in the World Dirt Racing League, and duel wins on the Renegade Dirt Car Series tour.
Going into the 2004 season,, Francis announced that in the 2004 season, he would resume his racing operation out of Ashland, KY in his familiar #15 Dodge Rocket Chassis with sponsorship from Mopar, Valvoline, Freeport Recycling Centers, and Action Auto Mart. Francis also announced that he would once again run a limited schedule for car owner, Larry Moring out of Illinois.
To date, the Kentucky Colonel has recorded a combined 40 wins in the Xtreme Dirt Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Renegade Dirt Car Series, and the World Dirt Racing League. Francis has more than 200 overall feature wins.
2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Stats:
Wins: 6 (Barberville, Fla.; Loxley, Ala.; Osborn, Mo.; Hagerstown, Md.; Middlebourne, W.Va.; Franklin, Pa.)
Top 5: 25
Top 10: 33
Fast Times: 5
Heat Wins: 25
B-Main Wins: 0
Points Standings Finish: 2nd (-14)
Total Season Earnings: $227,885
WoO LMS History:
Participated in the first incarnation of the WoO LMS organized by late promoter Ted Johnson. Failed to win a feature while finishing 24th in the 1988 standings and second in 1989… Signed as one of original 12 contract drivers when World Racing Group (WRG) restarted WoO LMS in 2004… Won first career series feature on Feb. 3, 2004, at Volusia Speedway Park – the inaugural event of the tour’s new era under WRG… Finished second in the 2004 point standings, 13 points behind champion Scott Bloomquist… Three ’04 victories highlighted by a $40,000 score on Aug. 7, 2004, at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D.… Suffered heartbreaking defeat in 2005 title battle to Billy Moyer, who passed Francis on the final lap of the season-finale ‘Gator 100’ at Volusia Speedway Park to finish second and end the campaign tied for the points lead with Francis. Moyer was crowned champ by virtue of the tour’s second tie-breaker: most second-place finishes (5-2)… Five triumphs in ’05 included a sizzling mid-summer stretch in which he won three straight and four out of five races… Won twice in 2006, at Volusia Speedway Park and Ohio’s Brushcreek Motorsports Complex. Finished sixth in points standings… Snapped 45-race WoO LMS winless streak with first victory of 2007, on June 23 at Quebec’s Autodrome Drummond. It was the tour’s first-ever event held in Canada… Recorded a total of four wins in 2007, scoring victories down the stretch at Pennsy’s Tri-City Speedway, Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway and Tenn.’s Volunteer Speedway (Tennessee Fall Brawl 100 worth $20,000)… After two early-season DNFs in ‘07, ran off 38 consecutive lead-lap finishes to clinch first career WoO LMS title in season’s next-to-last event… Decided to park his self-owned team and drive Maryland car owner Dale Beitler’s No. 19 in pursuit of a second consecutive WoO LMS championship in 2008… Won six A-Mains in ’08 – finishing tied with Josh Richards for the top spot in that category – but settled for third in the points standings… Biggest win in ’08 was a $50,000 score in the Circle K Colossal 100 at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway… Became the winningest driver of the tour’s modern-era (2004-present), ending the ’08 season with 20 career victories… Remained teamed with Beitler in 2009 and battled for points title for virtually entire season with Josh Richards and Darrell Lanigan, finally settling for second place, 14 points behind Richards… Won six A-Mains in ’09, including back-to-back races twice – at Volusia Speedway Park and Alabama’s Deep South Speedway, and later at Hagerstown, Md., and West Virgina’s Tyler County Speedway… Passed Richards heading to white flag to win Sept. 6 A-Main at Pennsylvania’s Tri-City Speedway… Registered series-leading nine runner-up finishes in ’09… Surpassed the 100 career heat-race win mark in 2009… Split with Beitler in November 2009 and will return to running his own equipment on WoO LMS in 2010… One of only two drivers (Rick Eckert is the other) who started all 237 A-Mains run from 2004-2009…
Other Racing History:
Born and raised in Ashland, Ky., began racing cars at 15 years old with help from his father and brother… Won first career dirt Late Model feature in 1984 (in Virginia) and now has over 200 triumphs to his credit… First major sanctioned victory came in 1992 STARS (later Renegade DirtCar Series) event at Florida’s Putnam County Speedway… Earned national recognition by winning three consecutive STARS/Renegade championships (1996-98)… Enjoyed a spectacular 1999 season, winning the World 100 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, Dirt Track World Championship at West Virginia Motor Speedway and Commonwealth Cup at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway. Also finished fourth in first season as regular on UDTRA/Xtreme DirtCar Series… Welcomed Valvoline as sponsor in 2000 and finished second in UDTRA/Xtreme standings. Added backing of Mopar Performance Parts in 2001 and recorded another runner-up finish in UDTRA/Xtreme points… After death of his brother/crew chief Chris in August 2001, spent ’02 and ’03 seasons driving Rocket Chassis house car and registered points finishes of third and fifth on UDTRA/Xtreme tour… Resumed operation of his own dirt Late Model team in 2004… Sixth-place WoO LMS points finish in 2006 snapped his streak of finishing among top five in a sanctioned dirt Late Model series every year since 1994… Drove Tim Logan’s No. 11 in selected events during the 2007 season, winning six times. Teaming with Logan again in 2010 to run non-WoO LMS events… Has fielded a dirt Late Model for NASCAR Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman to run in selected events over the past three years…
In 1997, Francis was given one of Kentucky’s highest honors. For his achievements in the auto racing arena, the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky recognized Francis as an “official and honorary” Kentucky Colonel… Is married to Amanda Ferrell, whose parents promote Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky….