SUNSET BEACH — The racing world lost a legend, George Bradbury “Brad” Francis, 81, at 8:02 p.m., Friday, May 22, 2020. He began his journey March, 19, 1939, in Timmins, Ontario. Brad was a driven and talented man; an innovator and leader in the racing world.
He is remembered as the inventor of the track bar adjuster and differential oil pump, a world-record holder in drag racing, engineer in CanAM and IMSA, a Championship NASCAR special projects engineer, multiple winner of the Daytona 500 and NASCAR championship chassis builder. Brad built cars for Dale Earnhardt/Richard Childress, Paul Newman, Jack Roush and was a proud member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame and Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Brad enjoyed a long and successful motorsports career in Canada and the United States. Mr. Francis spent a major portion of his career in research and development, pioneering racing projects spanning over five decades.
According to his best friend, Jack Roush, “Brad inspired competitors and teammates alike to achievements which would not have been possible without his example or instruction. Brad has left this World a much better place than he inherited. Godspeed, old friend!”
Brad endeavored to lead the razor’s edge of what was possible; his cars were always top notch and innovative, if a little on the “cheat side.” Brad amazed us all that someone so brilliant was self-taught in engineering and understood more than most can comprehend. He collaborated with the U.S. Army on projects for aviation improvements on aircraft flown in Iraq. He is described as insightful, inquisitive and willing to mentor others, as reflective of his track record.
In addition to his racing legacy, Brad was a loving husband, father, mentor and best friend to many. He is survived by his wife, Dona Caine-Francis; one brother, Jimmy Francis; two sisters, Shelley Johnstone and Lynn Grando; six wonderful children, Robin Francis, Leslie Noble, Laura Francis, Jordan Torrence and Ben Caine; as well as 15 grandchildren.
There will be a private celebration of life held to honor of our racing icon at a later date (post Covid-19 restrictions) in Concord.
In lieu of flowers the family request expressions of sympathy in the form of a donation to NASCAR Hall of Fame Foundation or New Vista (homes for the intellectually disabled).
Godspeed, Brad Francis; stay on the gas!