SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Infuriated after being collected in a last-corner last lap accident in Sunday’s SuperChevyStores.com / Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie Sarah Cornett-Ching still took plenty of positives out of her dirt debut.
While early race overheating problems forced a green-flag pit stop for the driver of the No. 2 RACE 101 Chevrolet, Cornett-Ching persevered through the challenge and when it counted most, she produced quick laps that allowed her to steadily climb through the field, despite being two laps off the lead pace.
“We had some bad luck,” said Cornett-Ching. “The car overheated at the beginning, and we had to come down pit road and put the cool down machine on it. We went down three laps, and managed to get one lap back. We were racing laps down, but running some really fast lap times – keeping up with the leaders. It was a good day for learning.
“On the green-white-checkered, a bunch of guys wrecked and were sliding up the track. I had it cleared when one of the drivers tried to spin himself around in the middle of the race track, pinning me against the guardrail and wrecked our car. We’ll go onto the next one and we’ll be fast.”
Before taking on the Springfield 1.0-mile track Sunday morning, she along with car owner and mentor Tony Blanchard spent some time earlier in the week at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway networking in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series garage. Then the increasing popular driver switched gears and set her sights on the first of two races on a unique clay surface.
Arriving a day early to promote her team with the local media, she and owner and mentor Tony Blanchard dodged inclement weather before sitting as fans in the grandstands watching the coveted USAC Series take their turn around the 1.0-mile clay track. Never seeing the track before Saturday’s activities, Cornett-Ching was focused on learning what she could from the USAC race that might help in her own task, some 12 hours later.
Despite 14 top-20 finish in 16 races, the female sensation has never been determined to bounce back and the Labor Day tradition of the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, plus the remaining ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards races will be her opportunity.
The RACE 101 team will debut a new race car for the Southern Illinois 100 on Sept. 7, while they will also unveil their third Ilmor ARCA 396 motor, a necessity to attack in the final four races of the season.
“We have a lot of good things happening right now,” Cornett-Ching added. “We’re focused on making the most out of the rest of the season, but also looking ahead to 2016. We have a lot of irons in the fire, it’s all good and positive. I’m dedicated with the help of Tony and the RACE 101 team to end our season on a high note which we know will lead us to a great path of bigger and better things next season.”
While there’s a off week ahead for the ARCA Racing Series, Cornett-Ching will be on the move as she’ll head to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in her home country of Canada to partake in activities for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series respectively.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is their annual Labor Day tradition event from the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds for the running of the Southern Illinois 100.
Sarah Cornett-Ching is active on Twitter. You can follow and tweet with her @scornettching. The latest information on her racing career, as well an inside look at RACE 101 is available on her Facebook page at Facebook.com/SCCracing.