Francis Banks $40,000 In Topless 100


LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — Leading all 100 laps, Steve Francis dominated the 20th annual COMP Cams Topless 100 Saturday night at Batesville Motor Speedway. Francis, piloting the Barry Wright House Car, collected $40,000 for his first win in the crown jewel event sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

Former Topless 100 winner and hometown driver Jared Landers finished second followed by Eric Wells, Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Owens.

Francis, who started on the pole, took the lead at the start and then had to withstand several caution flags on his way to a convincing win. At least three drivers took a shot at Francis during the race, but only Landers consistently stayed within striking distance of him.

“I have to thank Barry and Lance Wright, this car was fast from the time we unloaded here on Thursday, I was worried about tire wear, but the Hoosiers still look good after the race, so I am happy for that. This is Barry’s first win in this race, and I have only run it a handful of times in the past,” said the 44-year-old driver, who captured his fifth LOLMDS win of 2012.

“The track was great all race, we stayed up top for most of it, but I knew Jared (Landers) was going to be there, but the car handled so well in open space and in traffic. I just drove it. It feels good to finally capture another crown jewel event.”

Landers, who scored a stunning win in the race two years ago, held the second position for a majority of the race, yielding to Owens and Wells for a brief time. Landers regained the runner-up position for good on lap 74.

“Steve drove a heck of a good race, the track was excellent,” Landers said. “We changed motors this afternoon. We are real happy with this finish. It has been a struggle here lately and it feels good to be running back up front against these guys.”

Wells, whose third place run marked his best ever finish in a crown jewel race was elated with third.

“We ran good,” Wells said. “I thought I could get second, Jared and I had good battle for second, nobody had anything for Steve, he was the class of the field, but to come third in a TV race and crown jewel event it is a step in the right direction for our race team.”

The finish:

Steve Francis, Jared Landers, Eric Wells, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Don O’Neal, Jesse Stovall, Chris Madden, Shannon Babb, John Blankenship, Earl Pearson Jr., Robbie Stuart, Jonathan Davenport, Morgan Bagle, Jack Sullivan, Brandon Smith, Klint Byars, Dale McDowell, Tyler Reddick, Todd Hall, Jon Mitchell, Billy Moyer, Will Vaught, Wendell Wallace.