Francis Teams With Simko

SALEM, Ind. - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Jake Francis failed to make the ARCA 200 at Daytona back in February, but he won't let that get him down. After parting ways with team owner Andy Belmont, Francis has teamed up with Mike and Dave Simko for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts at Salem Speedway Sunday afternoon, April 13.

"Were looking forward to Salem," said the 18-year-old Francis. "It'll be good to get back in a car and put Daytona behind me."

Salem will mark Francis's second attempt of the 2008 season. Francis made one start in 2007 at the Milwaukee Mile where he qualified 23rd and finished an impressive 12th.

This will not be the first time that Francis and Simko have worked together. Simko drove a Francis-prepared NASCAR Late Model at Lake Erie Speedway back in 2005. Together, Simko and the Francis team were able to put together back-to-back seventh place finishes. Now, Simko is returning the favor at Salem where Francis will team with the Simkos.

The Jake Francis, Inc. (JFI) crew is also excited to be back at the race track.

"We did good at The (Milwaukee) Mile, but I am looking to improve on that," said crew chief Roy Jones. "I hope to see a solid top-10 out of the JFI crew at Salem."

"It's great to have Jake back," said car chief Tom Spadafora. "I am looking forward to the race at Salem."

Sponsors HABCO Tool and Development and Bonner Farms will be on board the car for the Salem race.

"I am glad to have HABCO back on board," said Francis. "Mr. Sanders (owner of HABCO) has been a big part of my racing from the beginning."

"I started out helping Jake way back when he was racing Legends Cars," said Sanders. "I was part of his operation when he made the move to Late Models, and then into the ARCA RE/MAX Series. He did a good job at The Milwaukee Mile in 2007, and I expect him to do the same at Salem. I will always support Jake and help him along."

Dick Bonner, owner of Bonner Farms is equally excited to be a sponsor on the Francis automobile. "Jake has a lot of potential," said Bonner. "I am very excited to play a part in helping make his career in this sport."

"I can't say enough about Dick Bonner and Steve Sanders," said Francis. "They have both helped me along in my career. Mr. Sanders has been with me since the start, and Mr. Bonner came onboard back in 2005, and has been crucial to the success of our team ever since.

"I am trying to build a new team - Jake Francis, Inc., and Salem will be our first challenge. I have worked with Simko's in the past, and I feel that we can field a competitive racecar, and win races.

"I have to thank my dad; he's always believed in me and I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay him. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be where I am at now, and I wouldn't have the opportunities that I have had."

Salem is the second stop on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. Practice is from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. local time Saturday, April 12 followed by SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying at 3:30. The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts is scheduled to roll off at 2:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon, April 13.

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