(WSVN) - Davie native Ernie Francis Jr. started to get known for his racing well before he had his drivers license. Now, the 23-year-old is making a career racing on the track.
He was four years old when he started racing.
“Back when we first had met, I was racing a horsepower Mazda Miata and now I’m racing 900 horsepower Trans Am cars and 700 horsepower SRX racing cars,” Francis said. “It’s like a lot different but still having fun.”
Last Saturday, a local racecar driver became the talk of auto sports.
“Yeah, it is pretty cool,” Francis said.
7News’ Donovan Campbell interviewed Francis almost a decade ago when he wasn’t even old enough to drive on the highway. These days, he’s now beating some of the best drivers in the world.
“I was totally speechless when I got out of the car because these were guys I grew up watching on TV, and I never thought that I’d be able to meet these guys,” Francis said. “Now, I was racing wheel to wheel on track with them.”
Last week’s SRX race included the best drivers in all of motorsports. It was Francis who was winning as an all-time driver in 55 years of Trans Am racing, who topped them all.
“Elliot Castro had just won his fourth Indy 500. Tony Stewart’s a multi-time NASCAR champion, and you know, I’m just a kid trying to make a name for myself,” Francis said. “During the past few races that I’ve done with them, I’ve shown that I deserve to be here and I’m another one of those drivers who can race with them.”
Starting in sixth place in the feature race, from the moment the green flag was waved, the all-star field was overwhelmed by the South Florida driver.
“Once he’s in his mindset, he’s got that goal and that goal is get to the top and win.” said Francis’ stepmother Monica Zima.
The Francis family won’t forget Junior’s first overall track win, especially because he beat some of the greatest drivers of their era.
“For him to be able to be in the same room with them or on the same track with them and to run at the same time, it’s just incredible,” said Ernie Francis Sr.
“This is my third time watching it now,” Francis said. “My family’s watched it five times already, so they’ve all been freaking out and my friends are all still blowing up my phone, so definitely still on that high from the race.”
As far as what’s next for the emerging star, he said, “Now, it seems like the options are endless so I don’t really know where I’m gonna end up but excited to see where it’s gonna go.”
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