Francis, a longtime member of Evernham Motorsports, takes on a new role for 2006 as the team director for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by Kasey Kahne. Francis, who served as the team director for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger of Jeremy Mayfield in 2005, also worked in the role as team director for that team for two seasons.
Francis started his adventure in motorsports at a very young age.
At eight years old, Francis was racing go karts around his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. His success on the local level led to a state championship and a trip around the regional and national circuits. Francis continued racing and didn’t stop when he enrolled in the University of Florida where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. As Francis took the next step in his education, he did the same in racing, graduating to late model stock cars. Racing close to school, Francis busied himself with studying, racing and working at a power company.
Graduating in 1993, Francis devoted more time to racing and began traveling to places such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and South Boston, Virginia. While he was competitive in late models, sitting on a few poles and winning his share of races, he grew tired of the rigors of finding the sponsorship needed to run. The hassles of making it to the track every week, coupled with the fact that he was still working at the power company, forced Francis to make a decision.
In 1996, Francis got out of the car and began working in the Busch Series for a Florida-based team. He did everything from chief fabricator to car set up. He continued in the Busch Series until he made the leap to the Winston Cup Series in 1998 with Butch Mock and driver Rick Mast. It was his sophomore season on the circuit that Francis found himself on the championship team of driver Dale Jarrett.
Francis stayed with the team through the 2000 season, but the appeal of working with Ray Evernham and returning manufacturer Dodge proved too tempting. So in 2001, Francis joined Evernham Motorsports as the team engineer for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge with driver Bill Elliott before moving to the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge team in 2003.