Ernie Francis Jr is our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk, Monday, April 16, 2018, at 8:40 pm ET. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.
As a professional race car driver, Ernie Francis Jr is making a name for himself in a variety of disciplines and has plans to race in NASCAR as part of their Drive for Diversity program. To give an idea of just how successful Francis is, look no further than his winning streak in the Pirelli Trans-Am Series. Francis is on his way to his fifth championship title after securing his second win of the 2018 season in the South Florida Sports Car Challenge at Homestead Miami Speedway on Sunday.
Francis has now won the last three Pirelli Trans-Am Series races along with setting a new track record this weekend on his way to victory lane.
“This is our home track,” said Francis. “We knew we needed to put on a good show for our friends and family, but the car was absolutely hooked up today. We knew we had the pace from the very beginning of the weekend, right off the trailer. We have a great setup for Homestead-Miami, I have plenty of track time here, and we run old tires during all the testing and practice sessions— it gives you a good feel for what the car will be like here towards the end of the race. While everyone else was slipping and sliding, our car still was hooked up.”
This was Francis’ 12th career victory in the TA class with the No. 98 often leading the rest of the field by a gap of more than ten seconds despite a full-course yellow flag in the middle of the competition.
Enjoying his ‘home field’ advantage at Homestead, Francis has spent a lot of time at the track, both as a spectator and racer.
“I’ve been racing here since I was 13 years old and have been to this track since I was a little baby, so I’ve always grown up around here,” said Francis. “I’ve been taught by many who have been racing here a lot on how to get around here pretty fast. It definitely worked out for us.”
Three races into the 11-round championship, Francis is hoping his victory will help him go the distance in his title defense, especially as his multi-series schedule begins to accelerate.
“This weekend definitely helps us out,” said Francis. “We had the points lead coming in but it was a very small margin. This win definitely gives us a good points lead and will boost us forward for the next race at Indy.”
In addition to his success in Trans-Am, Francis is one of six members of NASCAR’s 2018 Drive for Diversity class.
“I think it’s really awesome to be part of the Diversity Program with NASCAR,” Francis said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get out there and start trying to break into the NASCAR community and it’s really where I see myself in the future. It’s where a lot of the big racing names are out there. It’s a great start and I am excited to get this season going.”
Although Francis’ NASCAR schedule is somewhat fluid at this time, he is racing both K&N Pro Series East road course events including, New Jersey Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 16th, and Watkins Glen International on Friday, August 3rd. There’s also the potential for a few late-model races as Francis prepares to make his way to NASCAR.
The Pirelli Trans-Am Series will return to action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 15-17.