Ernie Francis, Jr., TA3 American Muscle Champion
October 7, 2014
Victory at VIR sees Francis clinch title, record of youngest Trans Am Champion. Ever.
MIAMI, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2014) – In racing it seems everyone is always looking for the next big thing or the next breakout driver; in the case of Ernie Francis, Jr., the next big thing might already be here, and he’s behind the seat of the No. 9 Breathless Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
With his victory during Round 10 of the 2014 Trans Am Championship at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, September 28, Ernie Francis, Jr., clinched the 2014 TA3 American Muscle Championship, and in doing so became the youngest Trans Am Champion in history at the age of 16.
For over 20 years, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., held the record of youngest Trans Am Champion, from his first Championship in 1985 at the age of 22. In 2013, Cameron Lawrence broke Dallenbach’s mark by a single year at the age of 21. Now, Francis sets his own mark, at five years Lawrence’s (then) junior.
“It feels great to be going into the history books in Trans Am,” said Francis. “This is a great series, and I’m so grateful to be racing here. It’s been an amazing year for us so far; we came in missing Road Atlanta and not performing like we would have wanted at a few other races. To make a comeback like this, it makes for a great year. I’m so happy for the Breathless Team and everyone involved; a championship is something special.”
Francis has been dominant throughout his appearances in 2014, reaching the podium in all but one of his nine starts so far and finishing on the top step five times.
While Francis made a single appearance in 2013, a one off during the finale at Daytona International Speedway, it was his 2014 Trans Am debut in which Francis hinted at what was to come, putting on a show unlike anything TA3 had seen up to that point as he battled nose-to-tail with Dean Martin for the entirety of the 2014 opener at Sebring.
Francis would finish second in the race, but the victories were coming, with first place finishes at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lime Rock Park and Virginia International Raceway— all while showcasing his speed as well, starting on pole in six races over the course of the year.
Francis will be in action once more this year, at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, November 16, for the 2014 Season Finale.
About Trans Am:
The Trans Am Series dates back to 1966. Throughout the years, some of the greatest names in motorsports have participated in the Trans Am Series. Past Trans Am Champions include Paul Gentilozzi, Tommy Kendall, Mark Donohue, Scott Pruett, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., George Follmer, Greg Pickett, Scott Sharp, Bob Tullius, Tony Ave, Bob Stretch, Simon Gregg, Doug Peterson, Cameron Lawrence and Chuck Cassaro.
The iconic Trans Am Series – America’s Road Racing Series–is operated by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC. Through a five-year agreement, the Trans Am Race Company manages the marketing rights to the series and is responsible for Trans Am Series public relations and promotions. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides event operations services to the series. To learn more about Trans Am visit www.gotransam.com, www.facebook.com or @gotransam.