In 2011, Davie "No Panic" Franek of Wantage, NJ joined the ranks of URC for in his first season and he was immediately viewed as a title contender. He scored his first win with URC in his inaugural year and was a threat on any given night to win the feature. Every year since 2011, Franek was in the hunt for the championship title. In 2012, Franek and Robbie Stillwaggon went head-to-head each weekend chasing points and it all went down to the last race of the season, with Stillwaggon earning the title over Franek who finished a well-earned second.
The 2013 URC campaign once again saw Franek in the spotlight as the potential champion.
A wild August crash at the Lincoln Speedway changed what might have been a different outcome. After starting fourteenth, Franek was as high as fourth on lap six when he and another car tangled in turn three, with Franek flipping violently, hanging his 360 sprint car on the third turn catch fence. Davie walked away uninjured, but this one night would be the turning point of the balance of the season. Franek did finish a very respectable third in the season long Rislone URC Sprint Series title chase, with the championship title going to JJ Grasso with Josh Weller a close second.
Like many current day sprint car drivers, Davie Franek started his driving career in 1995 racing go-karts. He later advanced to the micro-sprints before moving into the 358 sprints. His first race was at the Lincoln Speedway but he quickly made the Selinsgrove Speedway his weekly Saturday night stop. In total, Franek has more than a dozen feature wins with his biggest moments coming in 2005 and 2006 when he won both season finale’s in the 358 Championship events at the Trailway’s Speedway.
In 2011, Franek won his first URC feature, that victory coming at the Delaware International Speedway. The night before, he won the 358 sprint feature at the Williams Grove Speedway, making it a very popular double-win weekend.
"Preparation is key to being successful on race night", commented Davie Franek. "We believe the prep work needs to happen during the week in the garage, if you’re doing the prep work at the track on race night, you’re already behind your competitors". Davie’s dad is a key part of the team’s success. "He’s real good on chassis set-up and that’s something we work together on". Davie continued to say, "Our results show that my Dad and I are on the same page, all we could use is some help during the week in the garage and some help on race night at the track".
It comes as no surprise that the experience of Dave Franek comes from his own driving experiences, wheeling a modified at tracks like Middletown, Nazareth and 5 Mile Point, earlier in his racing career.
A few years back, URC made a controversial decision to go with double-file restarts in the feature event. Predictions of numerous accidents, rough riding and bad starts never did materialize. From Davie’s viewpoint, "The double-file restarts are no issue, let’s face it, if you’re good, you’re going to finish upfront regardless of single or double-file restarts".
Some strong teams are in place with URC in 2014 including the Josh Weller and Ken Eldreth recently announced team. Eight time URC Champion Curt Michael and the Bill Gallagher #5G will be a title contender along with Brian Carber driving the Guy Howie sprinter, and now, . . . . . Davie Franek is planning another run to chase a URC Championship. In 2014, who will be Davie Franek’s biggest challenge? "Mainly ourselves, and as long as we come prepared, we plan to be in the running to win the championship", said Franek.
The Dave Franek Auto Sales sponsored 360 sprinter will carry the familiar #28F with sponsorship support from Bobby Hearn and Winters Performance. Look for a new sprint car with a slightly different paint job to be in action at some of the big payday events in 2014.
A very attractive 2014 Rislone URC Sprint Series schedule has been released. A two race Carolina weekend will open the season April 11 and 12. Both races are non-point shows. The first URC point race of the season will take place at the Selinsgrove Speedway on Saturday night, April 19.
RISLONE URC Sprint Series Schedule
Friday, April 11 Carolina Speedway/Gastonia, NC (NP)
Saturday, April 12 Lancaster Speedway/Lancaster, SC (NP)
Saturday, April 19 Selinsgrove Speedway
Friday, April 25 Big Diamond Raceway
Friday, May 2 Big Diamond Raceway (Rain Date)
Saturday, May 10 Selinsgrove Speedway Jack Gunn Memorial $3,500 To Win
Friday, May 16 Bedford Speedway
Saturday, May 17 Delaware International Speedway
Sunday, May 25 Grandview Speedway (2 Features)
Monday, May 26 Grandview Speedway (Rain Date)
Wednesday, June 4 Lincoln Speedway MACH 1 Super Series
Friday, June 6 Williams Grove Speedway MACH 1 Super Series
Friday, June 13 Potomac Speedway
Saturday, June 14 Winchester VA Speedway
Saturday, June 21 Grandview Speedway
Friday, June 27 Bedford Speedway
Saturday, June 28 Selinsgrove Speedway
Saturday, July 26 Selinsgrove Speedway
Friday, August 1 Williams Grove Speedway Rislone Nationals $4,000 to win
Saturday, August 9 Selinsgrove The Kramer Cup
Friday, August 22 Williams Grove Speedway
Saturday, August 23 Port Royal Speedway
Friday, August 29 Hagerstown Speedway
Saturday, August30 Delaware International Speedway
Saturday, September 27 Selinsgrove MACH 1 $8,000 to Win
Friday, October 3 Carolina Speedway/Gastonia, NC
Saturday, October 4 Cherokee Speedway/Gaffney, SC
Saturday, October 18 Grandview Speedway Feature Only
(NP) Non-Point Races
For more information, please visit our website at: www.urcsprints.com