A third-place finish at Vernon’s Motoplex Speedway gave Summerland’s Sarah Cornett-Ching a strong finish to a rookie year.
The final race of the OK Tire ARCA West Series took place on Sept. 24 and Cornett-Ching had the dominant car early. At one point in the race, she had built up a full straightaway lead. However, a series of restarts with Cornett-Ching on the outside lane gave her car problems.
“I burned up the right rear tire trying to keep up,” recalled Cornett-Ching. “After that we had to battle just to stay in the top three.”
That result gave Cornett-Ching four top-five finishes and nine in the top-10. Of her top-five finishes was a victory Aug. 13. There was a lot of learning for the RACE 101 student this season and one thing stood out.
“I think the biggest thing that we learned was how to adapt to a new track,” she said. “I had to work hard to figure out the track when we got there. We only got about 30 minutes practice. We had to work to get the car dialed in.”
She wasn’t walking it alone though as fellow racers were happy to offer advice. Cornett-Ching tended to lean on the experienced drivers.
“Most of the guys in the series are really great for giving you a hand, especially when you are first starting,” she said.
Because the young driver raced to some solid results and stayed out of trouble, she gained the respect.
“I think I definitely made a good name for myself this year,” said Cornett-Ching, who is 2008 claimed her first ever top-five finish in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. “It gives you more confidence as a driver and helps you to gain that respect easier. It feels great to be able to have that respect, being a girl and being so young in this series. They definitely don’t give you a lot of respect to start out with.”
What Cornett-Ching enjoyed of the season were the strong finishes near the end.
“We got a couple of podiums, that was definitely gratifying,” she said.
With the 2011 season over, she looks forward to returning to North Carolina to complete the RACE 101 program. While there, Cornett-Ching will clip and set up the front end of a Howe chassis and get an opportunity to drive a RACE 101 prepared Late Model at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory.
Cornett-Ching has big plans for next season, wherever she races, to continue winning over fans.
“We had a lot of fun this season and have met some great people in this sport along the way,” said Cornett-Ching. “Whether we are back in the ARCA Series full time or move on to something else, I am very thankful for our sponsors, family, friends and fans that have been along for the ride this season.”
The team is currently looking for marketing partners for her race team, and hopes to secure funding for a fulltime ride in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series next year. To contact Cornett-Ching, send her an email at email@example.com.