Defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Steve Francis enters the Oct. 8 Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown searching for his second straight victory at The Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The "Kentucky Colonel" has piloted his No. 19 late model to six wins in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series this season, with his first victory coming in the Colossal 100 at The Dirt Track on April 19. After starting from the pole, Francis managed to stretch his fuel mileage to lead the race from start to finish, surviving 16 caution flags to take the win.

"I've always enjoyed racing at The Dirt Track," Francis said. "For the last three or four events there, the track has been in great condition."

The Ashland, Ky., driver is currently second in the series point standings, 126 points behind leader Darrell Lanigan. But, Francis has been on a hot streak lately, scoring five wins since late July.

"It's going to be extremely difficult to catch Darrell," said Francis in reference to the points race. "But, we're coming in trying to win every race."

Francis began racing at age 15 and won his first dirt late model event in 1984. He has a total of 40 wins in the Xtreme Dirt Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Renegade Dirt Car Series, and the World Dirt Racing League. Francis has more than 200 overall feature wins. He has also been named an official and honorary Kentucky Colonel by the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for his success in auto racing.

In last year's Showdown the 41-year-old racer started 25th and finished fourth. Several weeks later he returned to The Dirt Track and finished second in the World of Outlaws World Finals to clinch the 2007 championship.

Presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers, the Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown will kick off Bank of America 500 Week and features a possible $30,000 first-place prize for the winner of the 50-lap feature.

The unique format of the Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown provides an opportunity for drivers to earn up to $30,000 for scoring the win. If the driver who wins the 50-lap finale submitted an official entry form prior to Sept. 13, he will receive the $10,000 first-place prize along with an amount equal to $1,000 multiplied by his starting position.

"Ideally, I would like to start in the sixth to tenth spot," remarked Francis. "You're close enough to the front to avoid some of the incidents and close enough to the back to get a good pay day. But, you've got to finish it to win it."

The event will be the first "topless" event in World of Outlaws Late Model Series racing history. The term "topless" refers to the fact that each dirt late model must compete without its fiberglass top, giving fans a better view of the drivers as they navigate the lightning-fast four-tenths-mile oval.

More than 50 of the biggest names in dirt late model racing are expected to be on hand for the Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown, including World of Outlaws points leader Darrell Lanigan along with series regulars Chub Frank, Francis, Josh Richards, Shane Clanton, Shannon Babb, Rick Eckert and Clint Smith.

Joining the World of Outlaws series regulars for the Showdown is NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, along with dirt-track superstars Scott Bloomquist and Donnie Moran.

If purchased in advance, adult tickets for the Oct. 8 Armour Vienna Sausage Showdown presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers are $25 with children 12 and under admitted for just $5.

Tickets for this event can also be purchased as part of the four-race $99 SUPER Ticket which includes Bojangles' Pole Night on Thursday night, Oct. 9; the Dollar General 300 on Friday night, Oct. 10; and the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11.

Tickets are available online or by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.