Ernie Francis Jr. Is ‘One Of The Coolest Stories’ Of SRX Racing Series Says James Hinchcliffe Entering Final Race At Nashville – CBS New York

(CBS Native)- Arduous to consider however the inaugural season of the Tenting World SRX collection involves a detailed this weekend at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. By 5 races, there’s been loads of pleasure and almost each driver has been in competition at one level or one other. And, the collection has given a star flip to 1 younger driver.

23-year-old Ernie Francis Jr. will enter Saturday’s race 38 factors behind Tony Stewart for the highest spot within the championship. Theoretically, he might overtake Stewart this weekend, although that would appear unlikely provided that he can earn a most of 49 factors if he wins each heats and the function race. Nonetheless, whatever the total final result, Francis Jr. has gotten the highlight on the collection which may now result in some large alternatives.

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“I feel this is among the coolest tales of the entire championship. The entire idea of SRX was to take the heroes and the legends of their respective classes,” CBS Sports activities SRX collection analyst James Hinchcliffe stated of Francis Jr. “Whereas on one hand, yeah he’s already established and a legend in his personal collection, he’s nonetheless solely 23 and nonetheless has a whole lot of aspirations and objectives within the sport. This simply put him entrance and heart towards among the finest which have ever been. He’s by no means raced on ovals, by no means raced on grime and each week we go to a brand new monitor and he’s proper on the tempo, and combating for podiums and wins. What’s so cool is you are taking this championship that was comprised of men you assume are within the twilight of their profession but it surely’s highlighted a younger driver that also has a shiny future in entrance of him and opened up some nice alternatives for him.”

Francis isn’t alone by way of younger drivers getting some shine from the collection. Final week noticed 17-year-old Luke Fenhaus end second simply days after profitable Slinger Nationals. 19-year-old truck collection driver Hailie Deegan has put in robust performances in every race she’s been concerned in.

Although the children have gotten a whole lot of the shine, one of many legends has additionally introduced loads of leisure and at occasions, pressure to the races: Paul Tracy.

“Paul got here into this championship with the moniker of the ‘unhealthy boy’ and the chrome horn fame from his days in IndyCar so I feel he had folks with an eye fixed on him regardless and perhaps he was a bit extra below a microscope than different drivers would have been,” Hinchcliffe stated. “However, it does look like he’s been a magnet for incidents whether or not you possibly can pin them on him or one thing you possibly can pin on another person. He simply appears to all the time be the place the motion a technique or one other. I do know it’s gotten to a degree the place it’s annoyed him a little bit bit however I’m not going to lie it’s nice for the story, nice for the present.”

Tracy was concerned in additional bumps and bruises final week at Slinger, resulting in a post-race forwards and backwards with Deegan with neither significantly thrilled with the opposite’s driving. All in all, the exhausting racing from Tracy has introduced a definite component to the collection that Hinchcliffe has loved.

As for the person on the highest of the standings heading into the weekend, that might be co-founder Tony Stewart who’s back-to-back wins within the grime have him sitting in prime place to win the inaugural collection championship.

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“Let’s put it this manner, I’m not a betting man, however I do know who I’d be placing my championship bets on and it’s the man within the 14,” Hinchcliffe stated.

Whereas the season lengthy trophy is perhaps out of attain, this week’s race may be very a lot up for grabs. Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway was an everyday NASCAR Cup Collection cease from 1958-1984 and was a cease on the then Busch (now Xfinity) Collection from 1984-2000. A number of drivers within the common lineup have run on the monitor however the one with the newest expertise? This week’s ringer and defending NASCAR Cup Collection champ, Chase Elliott.

“The ringers have truly been very aggressive each single week and it’s been enjoyable to have that as a part of the collection. I feel actually, the man which may have the newest expertise is Chase Elliott. He received a race again in 2013 so his data of the monitor and his expertise is perhaps a little bit more energizing than dad’s or Michael Waltrip’s could be. So it’s going to be fascinating,” Hinchcliffe stated. “He clearly doesn’t have 5 weeks of racing these automobiles below his belt however in case you have a look at his schedule he’s doing three races within the three nights main as much as Saturday after which clearly racing within the Cup automobiles on Sunday so seat time has undoubtedly not been quick for younger Chase so it’s going to be enjoyable to observe him as nicely.”

Bringing within the defending Cup Collection champ to race towards his dad and the remainder of the sector is simply one of many many strikes that Hinchcliffe has been impressed to see co-founder Ray Evernham make this season.

“Ray and the group have finished such an amazing job for these automobiles to be race-able in all places we go. I’m not going to lie, there’s been a few tracks we’ve pulled as much as and I assumed, ‘yeah that is most likely going to be a one lane place, will not be probably the most motion packed race except guys are stepping into one another and utilizing bumpers’ and that basically simply hasn’t been the case,” Hinchcliffe stated. “We’ve seen excluding perhaps one monitor, the excessive line are available in just about in all places. We’ve seen a whole lot of good aspect by aspect motion. So, it’s only a testomony to the work Ray Evernham and everybody on his workforce have finished to get these automobiles in a spot the place they will race. Whether or not it’s a half-mile grime monitor or asphalt monitor we’ve had a whole lot of good races.”

With a championship on the road and one other ringer becoming a member of the fold because the season wraps up Hinchcliffe’s hope for this week’s race is an easy one.

“The hot button is simply to have enjoyable. That’s true for the folks working the collection, the drivers themselves, the folks on the printed. This one is nearly having enjoyable, going out in fashion. I feel the SRX experiment has been an incredible success and everybody can go and luxuriate in themselves and be pleased with the trouble that everybody has put in thus far,” Hinchcliffe stated.

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The Tenting World SRX collection takes on Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday, July 17 with protection starting at 8 p.m. Jap Time on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Ernie Francis Jr. Is ‘One Of The Coolest Stories’ Of SRX Racing Series Says James Hinchcliffe Entering Final Race At Nashville


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