Sarah Cornett-Ching, driving for Jimmy Mooring in a Neil Bonnet throwback scheme in Saturday’s Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway, is excited to be back in the cockpit of a Late Model Stock Car for the first time since the 2018 Crystal Coast 125.
Cornett-Ching, 28, from Penticton, British Columbia, has experience in the ARCA Racing Series as well as in Super Late Models but she only has a handful of starts in a Late Model Stock Car – all of which came at Carteret County Speedway during the 2018 season. While she is excited to be back in the car at, she is keeping expectations modest.
“I’m excited of course,” Cornett-Ching told Race22.com. “I’ve never raced a Late Model Stock anywhere except Carteret so I feel like it’s a really cool opportunity for me. We tested the other day and the car was really good, consistent. Just going off lap times, I feel like we’re going to be competitive. I don’t expect to qualify on the pole or set the world on fire, but I think we’ll have a really solid car.
“If we can avoid the melee, which I’m sure there will be some carnage, I think we can come out of there with a top-10 finish or close to that.”
Cornett-Ching says she is as healthy as ever and ready to race – brushing off two major incidents which took place in 2016 and 2017, one of which the Canadian standout suffered a concussion in.
“I’m all good on that,” Cornett-Ching said. “We’ve run lots of practice and lots of racing since then.”
The deal to race at Hickory came together last minute. Cornett-Ching will occupy the seat in the Jimmy Mooring owned entry which Stacy Puryear vacated after last month’s Crystal Coast 125 at Carteret County.
“Jimmy didn’t have a driver for this upcoming race,” Cornett-Ching explained. “Since Tony [Blanchard] had worked on the car and they saw some improvement, they needed a driver and I was the first driver to throw my hat in the ring. I like to drive anything.”
Along with this weekend’s CARS Tour event, Cornett-Ching is tentatively set to compete in other races for Mooring.
“As of right now, we’re going forward with whatever races Jimmy had planned for the rest of the season,” Cornett-Ching remarked. “As with anything in racing, we’re going to take it race by race and see how everything goes. I’m grateful for the opportunity and thankful to Kirk [Ipock] at Solid Rock Carriers.”
While Cornett-Ching has limited experience in a Late Model Stock, she has put together promising runs in the past. In a race at Carteret County last June, Cornett-Ching had been running in the third position and put herself in a position to challenge Brandon Clements and Mini Tyrrell for the win. Her best finish in a Late Model Stock is a fifth place finish which came at Carteret County.
Cornett-Ching also has one start in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour – a 10th place finish at Carteret County.
This weekend, she will drive car number 31 – a salute to Neil Bonnett, a multi-time NASCAR Cup Series winner who passed away in a practice accident at the Daytona International Speedway in 1994. Cornett-Ching noted that the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme had already planned prior to her agreement to drive the car.