At 23 years of age, Ernie Francis Jr. is the youngest driver in the Camping World SRX Series among the nine full-timers. Despite his youth, the seven-time Trans-Am Series champion showed he can wheel an SRX car around a .686-mile oval as he dominated Saturday’s race at Lucas Oil Raceway for his first win of the season.
Rallycross star Scott Speed, driving a ringer car for the second time, dominated the first heat. Michael Waltrip ran behind Speed for much of the early portion before the caution came out for running too many laps under green, which Tony Kanaan used to his advantage to take second.
Willy T. Ribbs finished at the back to be on the pole for Heat #2. Paul Tracy led early before being passed by Hélio Castroneves, who held the spot through the next green-flag caution and the finish.
Heat #1 results
|5||22||Bobby Santos III||23|
|7||2||Ernie Francis Jr.||23|
|12||17||Willy T. Ribbs||23|
Heat #2 results
|4||2||Ernie Francis Jr.||21|
|9||22||Bobby Santos III||21|
|11||17||Willy T. Ribbs||21|
Unlike the usual 100 laps, the race was 76 laps long to celebrate the 4th of July weekend.
Seeking to win his third race in a row, Tony Stewart started on the pole for the feature ahead of Speed. Speed led the first twelve laps before being passed by Francis. Three cautions for hitting the green flag limit took place on laps 26, 48, and 66.
Francis and Speed battled throughout the race before yellow flags started being waved for on-track incidents. Kanaan spun shortly after the race hit the 70-lap mark, while Tracy did so on the penultimate lap. Speed fell back after contact with Castroneves, leading to Francis fighting with Bobby Labonte on the final restart. Francis would hold off Labonte to win his first SRX race.
Labonte’s runner-up finish marked his first podium, while Speed rebounded to take third. All twelve drivers completed every lap, the first time this season that everyone finished on the lead lap.
Francis posted on social media, “All I can say is thank you… this has been the opportunity of a lifetime!”
Next Saturday’s race will take place at Slinger Speedway.
|1||2||Ernie Francis Jr.||76|
|5||22||Bobby Santos III||76|
|11||17||Willy T. Ribbs||76|