*This feature story was featured in the July 31st edition of the Hastings Tribune.
At age 12, Jessica Francis continues to prove she belongs on the race track. For Francis, winning has been a regular occurrence atKAM Raceway. She has shown that she’s a force to be reckoned with at the track east of Hastings.
“I love winning,” Francis said. “It’s just fun to win a lot.”
Francis, who lives in Grand Island, started her inaugural season at KAM Raceway with four heat race victories and five features. Those finishes were good enough to seat her atop the point standings and crowned the 2014 Jr. 1 Karts division champion.
Her success on the track has been a source of controversy, according to her father, Jesse Francis.
“People just can’t believe that she can go that fast and win that often,” he said. “Her cart gets checked all thetime. She’s never failed an inspection and always races clean. She’s just really good.”
Her father was surprised as anybody that she even wanted to start racing in the first place. He recalls asking her, “Are you sure? I can buy a lot of Barbie dolls for what I’ll pay for that (go-cart).”
Her response was both direct and honest.
“I don’t like Barbie dolls,” she said. “I want to race.”
Her desire to race is what has propelled her up the point standings leaderboard and has led to her to contemplate her future in the sport.
“I want to drive a sprint car,” she said. “Someday, I want to be like Danica Patrick.”