Albert Francis has confirmed his intentions to chase after the inaugural ASA STARS National Tour championship in 2023. The Painesville, OH native will contest all ten races this season, with the hopes of bringing home a championship after the finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in November.
After picking and choosing big Super Late Model races around the country while also dabbling in Outlaw Super Late Models in his native Ohio, Francis went full-time with the ASA/CRA Super Series last season. He finished third in the final points standings while scoring a best finish of third in the spring race at Anderson Speedway.
“It always brings its own set of challenges, I’m pretty excited for it,” said Francis. “I’m looking forward to exploring all these new tracks that I haven’t been to and see what we can do.
“Before that, we traveled a lot, just going to places we wanted to go to rather than running for points. It was good to do that but it was harder to make a schedule just because we would decide what we wanted to do and there was really no perks of running one or two races with each series.”
His championship hunt did not start the way he wanted it to go, finishing 17th in the Sunshine State 200 at Five Flags Speedway. It was his second trip to the Pensacola, FL track following a Snowball Derby run last December.
Between running CRA full-time and his barnstorming schedule in previous years, Francis has seen most of the tracks that are on the ASA STARS National Tour schedule. However, he has yet to start a race at the three Wisconsin tracks on the schedule, as well as at Hickory.
Looking at the list of tracks he has yet to race at, two of them stand out to him.
“(Five Flags) did not go great, but it happens. It’s one of those racetracks that I just haven’t quite figured out yet. I hear Madison’s pretty cool, and so is Slinger. Those are probably the two I’m looking forward to the most.”
Gary St. Amant was the only driver from the state of Ohio to win a championship in the old ASA National Tour days, having won two in 1998 and 2000. Francis would like nothing more than to add his name to the list of champions under the ASA banner.
“The ASA name means a lot. Just to win something so well-known before what it is now, it would be really cool. My name would be added to a strong list of people who have won it.”
The Joe Shear Classic 200 will mark race two of the inaugural ASA STARS National Tour schedule, set for 2:00PM CT on Sunday, May 7. Advance tickets are available by visiting the track website at misracing.com/tickets, or at the track office during regular business hours. Madison International Speedway is located ten minutes south of Madison, on Sunrise Road off of Highway 51 between Oregon and Stoughton.
The Joe Shear Classic will be live-streamed on Racing America, MidwestTour.tv and TRACKTV.com. MAVTV will air the event on a tape-delayed basis.
The ASA STARS National Tour opened the ten race, six-state schedule at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 11. Georgia racer Casey Roderick won the Sunshine State 200. Roderick is expected to enter the Joe Shear Classic 200, along with the rest of the top Super Late Model drivers in the country.
For the full ASA STARS National Tour schedule, plus Super Late Model rules and other information, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: STARS National Series | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS National Tour
The ASA STARS National Tour debuted in March of 2023 for Super Late Model racing in America. Announced last October, many of the best drivers in America will compete in the ten-race national tour with a minimum $100,000 point fund. The championship team will be guaranteed $25,000.
The ASA STARS National Tour is made up of three races from each of the regional pavement Super Late Model Series under the Track Enterprises banner; the ASA CRA Super Series, the ASA Midwest Tour and the ASA Southern Super Series.
The Team Construction Winner’s Circle program has been announced as a part of the ASA STARS National Tour for licensed drivers/teams with perfect attendance. The program provides additional financial incentives to those teams who support the Series, thanks to Team Construction.
Track Enterprises, a Racing Promotions Company based in Illinois, will operate the ASA STARS National Tour. It announced the acquisition of the CRA sanctioning body in January and followed that up with the purchase of the Midwest Tour in July. In October, Track Enterprises President, Bob Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series which set the table for the formation of the ASA STARS National Tour.