Normally third place is always better than sixth.
That’s not the case if you’re Sarah Cornett-Ching.
The Summerland race driver finished third overall in the West Coast Sportsman Series Point Standings and sixth overall in the OK Tire ARCA West Sportsman Series.
Cornett-Ching was disappointed with her result in the West Coast Sportsman Series because she was in the running for second overall going into the final race. A championship was within her grasp until the engine in her car blew up during the last practice at the Motoplex Speedway in Vernon.
Cornett-Ching missed the entire round of qualifying, and the first heat race while waiting for her mother to drive from Summerland to Penticton to get her backup engine and bring it to Vernon. The new motor was installed in 45 minutes after its arrival.
Cornett-Ching started the second round of heat races from the tail of the field, but determination pushed her through the pack to score a second-place finish. Cornett-Ching entered the race second in points, and despite her third-place finish in the feature, missing qualifying and the first heat race, would fall to third in points after the final round of the West Coast Sportsman Series.
She praised her crew for their efforts and how quickly they installed the engine.
She’s proud of her sixth place result in the OK Tire ARCA West Sportsman series as it was an improvement from eighth place a year ago. Cornett-Ching credited the solid year to more experience.
“The season on the whole was good,” she said. “It’s difficult to say it was great. I don’t have backing (sponsorship).”
Dealing with that kind of circumstance forced her to save money where she could. While talent is essential to have success, so is financing. Cornett-Ching understands that.
“It’s mostly frustrating when there’s guys in the series that have big companies behind them and they are not even showing up to all the races,” she said.
Supporting Cornett-Ching throughout her season were Snap-On Tools, Lordco, Underwriters Insurance, Peerless Trailers, Midtown RV, ANJ Automotive, Garrett Engines, Prince George Motors Ford, Racecom, Finish Line, Tyler Case and Glen Whitt.
The biggest thing Cornett-Ching gained from the season was experience and she learned the adjustments needed to be made at each course. The crew also kept good notes. Among the highlights of her season were having top three finishes and thinking back to the work her crew did to install the engine. She was “absolutely impressed” by their work.
“That is more of a highlight,” said Cornett-Ching, who also enjoyed picking up the crew on a Friday afternoon to head for Prince George. “It’s all fun, the racing is the best part for me.”
Next season Cornett-Ching intends to compete in the OK Tire ARCA West Sportsman Series for a third season. She will have a larger engine put in and is going for the championship. She is also looking into the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in Vernon and Saskatoon and chasing the Rookie of the Year. The end goal is the NASCAR Sprint Cup.