Sarah Cornett-Ching Moves From Canada, Chases Dream Through NASCAR Home Tracks And Earns Solid Finish In Bristolby Hunter Thomas April 21, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Sarah Cornett-Ching, a young 23-year old woman from British Columbia got one step closer to her dream of competing in the highest ranks of NASCAR when she made her debut start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Bristol Motor Speedway in the PittLite 125 on Saturday afternoon.
After starting 26th, Sarah kept out of trouble and rallied to an impressive 20th place finish in her No. 18 Drive Technology Toyota. However, surviving Bristol is just the latest in her long list of accomplishments. Sarah started racing when she was 12 years old, and right away, she realized that racing was her niche and that she wanted to pursue a career.
“I started racing when I was 12 years old and just really took a liking to it,” Cornett-Ching said. “It has always been something really competitive, so I really enjoyed that.”
In 2011, Sarah participated in Research, Analyze, Consult, and Educate, 1 on 1, otherwise known as, RACE 101 which is a program that educates individuals about the racing industry. After completing the program, Sarah went on to test an ARCA Racing Series car for a few years in a row at Daytona International Speedway.
“The whole place just has so much history, and when you pull in and all of the Cup teams are there and all of the trailers are there, the fans are filling it up – it’s a really special feeling and an honor to be there,” Cornett-Ching said about her experience at Daytona International Speedway.
Prior to Bristol on Saturday, she had competed in a Late Model at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, British Columbia and had one start during the 2011 season in the Canadian Tire Series at the same track, as well. With already having competed at the speedway, experience paid off in the 2011 Canadian Tire Series A&W Crusin’ the Dub 300 at Motoplex Speedway. She finished a solid 14th.
“The Canadian Tire Series, I got to run one race with them which was really, really fun,” Cornett-Ching said. “I had been running Late Models at that track (Motoplex Speedway), so I was given the opportunity to run the race at my home track, which gave me a bit of an advantage in a new car. We had a really good race. We were fairly competitive, and the cars are a lot heavier than I was used to and everything.”
Back in February of this year, she made her ARCA Racing Series debut at Daytona International Speedway and that led into a fulltime deal with Race 101 for the 2015 season. So far this year, Sarah has posted a 31st place finish at Daytona International Speedway but has followed that performance with an 11th at Mobile International Speedway and a 12th at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
“In 2011, I was in Race 101 which is Tony Blanchard’s program, and I worked with him that full year, and then we went and tested at Daytona a few years in a row, and that translated into racing Daytona this February which turned into a full ARCA Series season, and now we’re running K&N races, as well,” Cornett-Ching said. “It has just been a whirlwind, and it’s very exciting.”
The road to Daytona and Bristol certainly wasn’t an easy one. It took hard work, dedication and even a slight temporary career change. Right after high school, she started welding so that she could afford to continue her racing career. She even earned her journeyman ticket and is highly experienced with all types of various welds. Learning and excelling in the welding trade is how she saved up enough funding to compete at the World Center of Racing earlier this year.
“I started welding right after high school, so I was able to afford to keep going racing, and I went all the way through and got my journeyman ticket,” Cornett-Ching said. “Then, I was able to save up enough to come to Daytona, and now this has worked out to the fact that I don’t have to weld anymore, so it has been really nice.
“I had never welded until I went to school (Okanagan College in Kelowna, BC) for my first year of welding, and that was seven months of schooling, welding every day. Then I went working, and then I did two more years of school to finish it off.”
Sarah’s interest in welding was initially ignited by the great pay, but at the same time, she knew it was extremely important to understand the trade so that she could work on race cars from time-to-time.
“I just got into welding because it paid really well, and I had done a little bit of it on the race cars,” Cornett-Ching said. “It was something kind of necessary with the racing, so it was more just of a necessity and means to an end – something to get me there.”
Although she’s piloting the No. 2 Race 101 Chevrolet in the ARCA Racing Series and has now stepped foot into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Sarah hasn’t forgotten how she’s made it this far. Every track she visits, she soaks it all in. She moved from Canada to the United States of America to compete in the world’s most competitive racing series.
“I think just with me the biggest thing is the hard work and dedication is paying off,” Cornett-Ching said. “It has been a whirlwind. I can’t even fathom three months ago that I’d be racing at Bristol. Just stick with it. If you’ve got a dream, chase it. Hopefully you’ll see us in the Truck Series or the XFINITY Series soon.”
Sarah Cornett-Ching’s next ARCA Racing Series start will be this Sunday in the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Salem Speedway. The race is set to begin at 2:15 p.m. ET. As for continuing her NASCAR career, Bristol was only the start.