KNOXVILLE, Iowa – The excitement and anticipation is building for one of the biggest dirt late model events of the year with the running of the 10th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals this weekend at the famous Knoxville Raceway.
With the history and tradition of the famed Knoxville Raceway and a total purse over $270,000 up for grabs, racers and fans are looking forward to an exciting weekend of racing and the crowning of this year’s Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals Champion. Knoxville Raceway, located on the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa, is considered one of the nicest facilities anywhere in the country. With a racing surface that produces thrilling racing action, a huge purse up for grabs and plenty of off-track activities, this is a must see event for any race fan.
Sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, this crown jewel event will kick off Thursday with three nights of racing concluding on Saturday. Both Thursday and Friday’s events will include LOLMDS Hot-Laps, RED BUCK Time Trials, LOLMDS Heat Races, D-Main, C-Main, B-Main and a 25-lap $7,000 to win feature event. Saturday’s events include LOLMDS Hot-Laps, D-Main, C-Main, B-Main and the 100-lap $40,000 to win feature event.
Steve Francis won last year’s exciting event that drew a talented field of 80 drivers from all over the country. Francis has a storied career with a resume filled with series championships, crown jewel event victories and over 200 career feature wins. But Francis was quick to acknowledge in last year’s post-race press conference that he considers his win at the 2012 Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals as one of his biggest accomplishments and wins of his career.
“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, the payoff is awesome, you can start anywhere here and win. I’ve won several crown jewel events, including the World 100, but winning here at Knoxville is just amazing, an unreal feeling and probably the biggest win of my career,” stated Francis.
Francis will come into this year’s 10th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals with a new team and a new sponsor. After piloting his own car and team in 2012, Francis now drivers for NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, wheeling the Georgia Boot No. 15 Barry Wright House Car. Francis has two wins on the LOLMDS in 2013 and currently sits in second place in the series national championship points standings behind Jimmy Owens.
Francis is coming off a 23rd to fifth place finish in last weekend’s Jackson 100 in Brownstown, Ind. During his heat race, Francis’ car bicycled up on two wheels, nearly flipping over, after hitting a rut in turn one and slammed back down hard. Francis was transported to a local hospital after his heat race to be checked out after feeling severe pain in his lower back. Francis was cleared by the doctors with a lower back sprain and returned to the track and posted a remarkable drive to a top five finish that had the fans on their feet.
“That was a painful experience last Saturday at Brownstown. But we got lucky and it was lower back sprain and I was cleared to return to the track and still compete in the feature. I’m feeling better, but we went to a specialist in Indy and I have a cracked tail bone and two bulging disks in my lower back. I’m still consulting with doctors this week to make sure I do everything to heal properly but I’m cleared to race. I’m looking forward to this race and I am very excited to be going back to Knoxville. It’s my favorite racetrack, my favorite event and we’re going to try and win what I feel is the biggest event of the year for our sport,” stated Francis.