RPW Column: Davie Franek Was “Lights Out” In 2022 & Is Looking For Another Monster Year In ’23
Column By: BILLY HODGES / RPW – WANTAGE, NJ – What a massive year 2022 was for Wantage, NJ Sprint Car ace Davie Franek.
Franek captured the United Sprint Car Series (USCS) Winter Heat Series Championship, the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Central NY Speedweek Title, the Patriot Sprint Tour crown and was second in points for the overall ESS title, 77 markers behind champ Jordan Poirier.
Now that’s impressive, and it’s a simple approach that Franek feels was the key to his success.
“Our team just stuck to the basics for the season,” Franek said. “We didn’t change much. Every race we were very competitive, and we felt like we had a top 5 car.”
Franek started the season with a win at Hendry County in Florida with the USCS and never look back, capturing the win from the number one starting spot. He also won at North Alabama Speedway in mid-March, making the trip from New Jersey worth it. He started 11th to get the job done.
The veteran campaigner also had a big win at Outlaw Speedway with the Patriots in May after starting in second. He then backed that up by visiting victory lane at Fulton Speedway in July to close out CNY Speedweek, taking the checkered flag and the mini-series championship.
The 2022 season didn’t come without its hurdles though. There was a pickle in the middle of the season…a tire shortage which set the 28F team back a little bit. This forced Franek and company to make adjustments with their setup.
While most drivers race for fun, working a regular 9-5 style job to make ends meet, Franek has been able to make his love of racing his career, and is enjoying every bit of it.
“Running full-time just happened,” he said. “We went from 30 races a year to like 60 to 70. That’s when I knew I wanted to do this full time.”
Things for the upcoming season as full-speed ahead for Franek. With less than two weeks to go until this year’s USCS Winter Series, Davie says everything in the shop is ready to go and he’s ready to tackle this season.
“I’m very excited for the 2023 season,” he said. “We have all fresh motors and our cars are ready to go. With the Patriot Sprint Tour ceasing operations, we’re planning to run the Winter Heat Series, run some ESS events and some 410 Sprint Car shows when they come to the East Coast. We might even do some World of Outlaw events. We’re just going to go with the flow.”
For nearly a quarter century, Franek has been behind the wheel of a race car and has amassed over 100 victories. One track he’s been very successful at is one of his favorites, New York’s Utica-Rome Speedway. There, he’s had very good success since promoter Brett Deyo took the reigns. He loves the surface of the track and how smooth it is. It’s also the site of the biggest win of his career, the Cole Cup in 2019.
Most of the time, the team works seven days a week, usually trying not to take time off. They’re dedicated to the sport. When he is on the road, however, sleep gets to be a premium as they go from track to track, usually turning the car over for the next event in hotel parking lots. However, that’s the nature of the beast.
The life of a traveling full-time Sprint Car racer isn’t always the easiest. When you only get two months off, you feel like you’re constantly on the go.
For Davie Franek, that’s no different. However, he wouldn’t have it any other way, and it’s that dedication that’s made him one of the most successful Sprint Car racers around. There’s no doubt from anybody that he’ll have another successful year in 2023.