Sarah Cornett-Ching of Summerland, BC will make her PASS North Super Late Model debut at Thompson (CT) Speedway Motorsports Park next weekend.
“I’ve been watching lots of videos on YouTube and trying to do some studying up,” Cornett-Ching said. “So, I hopefully have kind of a good idea before we get there. … It’s definitely gonna be a new experience but I’m really excited. That place looks wicked fun.”
She will visit Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine ahead of the Oxford 250.
“That is definitely a lofty deal for us to be entering that race. But we’re gonna be up at Oxford a few times before the 250 this year, get my feet wet, get on the racetrack, and hopefully feel comfortable there … They get so many cars coming out to that thing and it’s just such a prestigious show. It would mean the world to me just to make the race, let alone go out there and try to have a great finish.”
Cornett-Ching is looking for a primary sponsor on Tony Blanchard’s Super Late Model. Blanchard, the Race 101 president, has fielded ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entries for Cornett-Ching. She moved to North Carolina to pursue her auto racing career.
“I have a ton of people that have helped out as far as in my career so far. Back home Lordco Auto Parts, Brutus Truck Bodies, A&J Automotive. … Tony Blanchard has been second to none as far as working with me and helping me improve.”
Sweet Manufacturing, Inc. is the latest supporter. The team is using their power steering equipment after problems developed at Orange County. She drove a backup car to a lead lap finish.
The PASS South regular opened the season with a sixth at Southern National and was 15th at Orange County Saturday.
Cornett-Ching tied the record for highest finishing female at Southern National. Her goals are to break the record and get an elusive win.
“That’s not enough for me. I want to be able to win a race and put our name in the history book that way. It’s kind of annoying to me when people say like ‘oh you’re the highest finishing girl.’ To me, I’m just a racer. I want to be out there and I want to be the best racer I can.”
“PASS has been super great to work with. They’ve done a lot with me media wise and they repeat everything on social media, and very involved with the drivers, which is kind of nice. They’re working hard to make the series the best that they can do and the competition is fun too.”
“It’s kind of a refreshing change from being at some of those bigger speedways where you’re turning laps by yourself and it’s all strung out. So, it’s a lot more fun. I’m just having a blast.”
It has been a long way from her start in British Columbia. People in high school laughed at her and her ant and uncle wanted her to do something more serious. A season for her was only 10-12 races.
“It’s been a huge learning curve for me coming down here. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Cornett-Ching has worked towards getting experience with the ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. She has been able to adapt to learn new tracks. Each series uses different tires and engines. She has 6 top 10s in 28 ARCA Racing Series starts. She made 8 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts since 2015.
Cornett-Ching is recovering from a concussion suffered last September at Kentucky Speedway. Contact with a car exiting turn 2 sent her into the wall. Her No. 2 ARCA Racing Series hit the wall 3 times.
“Right before I hit the wall in that wreck, I remember I had no idea where I was. I was spinning around, or sliding down the track, or something and I was like blacked out, I guess or just didn’t know where I was at. And I just realized that I was about to hit the wall like 2 seconds before I hit it. I didn’t even have time to flinch.”
Cornett-Ching struggled to walk and rested for weeks trying to recover. The concussion was “scary enough” that she decided to be open about the symptoms.
“If other people are going through this at least give them an opportunity to see what it was like for me firsthand and if they’re going through any of the same things they can know that is normal.”
Since missing the season finale at Kansas, Cornett-Ching has opened her eyes to living in the moment. Before the Kentucky race, it was a struggle to keep the team going, and paying bills. The stress of keeping the shop running took away from her enjoyment.
“I’m still very young and I have a lot of life in front of me. But racing is what I want to do and I know that there’s risk involved. I’m willing to take that risk and just enjoy the sport that I love.”
Cornett-Ching started testing after receiving medical clearance. Since her return at Southern National, she has dealt with nausea while warming the tires. Her reaction time and decision making are back to 100 percent.
Her progress continued at her most recent start at Orange County.
“I felt good at the end of the race. I didn’t have any problems with my head. There was the green white checkered where a guy missed a shift and I was able to avoid it and not get any damage on the car.”
“It was a huge process and it took a long time and I felt sick for a long time and I’m just really glad to have my health back.”
She is looking forward to meeting fans and signing autographs next weekend.
Sources: Nicholas Teto/YankeeRacer.com