Sarah Cornett-Ching is one of the most determined and focused racecar drivers from Canada. In fact, she has been racing from a young age and it’s all because of her father, who got her interested.
“My dad had raced since I was one-year-old so it was something that was always in my life,” Cornett-Ching said. “I started helping at the shop around 10-years-old and finally convinced my mom at 12-years-old.”
Some racecar drivers have people who they look up to or admire. However, that wasn’t the case for her, it was all about family.
“I really can’t say I was ever inspired by anyone or anything,” Cornett-Ching explained. “I just really loved the time it allowed me to spend with my dad and I’ve always been very competitive so it was a great outlet for that.”
When you’re a driver, you’re always on the go and busy most of the time. For Cornett-Ching, it’s quite hectic on race day.
“My mind actually changes on race day,” she said. “Anyone will tell you I get totally zoned out and forget my phone, and everything. I probably need a babysitter on race day, but I am at the shop every day and it’s rare that I’m not thinking or preparing for something to do with an upcoming race.”
During a racer’s career, there are some setbacks that a driver faces. In this case, it, unfortunately, happened to her last year during an ARCA race at Kentucky. On Lap 23, she made heavy contact with an inside SAFER barrier on the backstretch. Her car was completely destroyed. She was also facing other issues, such as a concussion. The wreck ended her 2016 season but not by choice and she faced a long road ahead to recovery.
“Stepping out of a car at first really wasn’t a choice I got to make,” Cornett-Ching said. “I was very out of it for a few weeks, so mostly I was just in bed. After I started to feel good enough to get back to the shop it was extremely difficult to be out of the car. I wanted so badly to drive but even just using an impact to take lug nuts off a car would make me feel extremely sick, and I would have to rest for hours afterwards.”
When Cornett-Ching got back in the car after her recovery from a concussion, it was a weird feeling.
“The first time I got back into the car was really strange,” she emphasized. “I struggled with my perception of where the wall was in relation to me in the car and it actually took me quite awhile to feel comfortable and get back to up speed in the car. Thankfully, I have very few lingering symptoms at this point and none that hinder my racing.”
This doesn’t even give her any fears while racing. In fact, she says you have to be on point during a race.
“I don’t have any fears when I get into a car,” Cornett-Ching said. “I think if you do have fears you shouldn’t be out there. You need your mind 100 percent focused on what you’re doing.”
There is an exclusive group of racecar drivers from Canada. Patrick Carpentier, Stewart Friesen, Mario Gosselin, Alex Guenette, Cameron Hayley, D.J. Kennington, Gary Klutt, Alex Tagliani, Ron Fellows, Jacques Villeneuve and Paul Tracy, to name a few. In Sarah’s mind, she hasn’t looked more into that.
“I have never really thought of it that way,” Cornett-Ching exclaimed. ” I just do what I can and race as hard as I can. It has never crossed my mind that people think of me when they think of famous Canadian drivers. That is very cool. I hope I can continue to be in that group for years to come.”
As her career continues, she learns in every race and is passionate about her fans.
“I feel like I’m learning and growing still with every race,” Cornett-Ching said. “It’s rare that I’ll run a race and not learn something. I have a great feel for consistency and I absorb information really well. I like all aspects of racing from building the cars to testing new ideas and meeting with fans.”
“The actual race is definitely the rush but it’s actually the time I get to relax and forget everything else and just focus on my job,” she continued. “I love my fans, I love meeting them, talking to them, creating relationships with them and most of all seeing them enjoying themselves at the race track. The whole point is for them to enjoy a show. I want to be the person that they look forward to seeing and talking to.”
With young drivers on the move to NASCAR recently, Cornett-Ching plans to keep it step-by-step.
“Right now my focus is on Super Late Model racing,” she emphasized. “I am not in a hurry to move up or jump too fast back into NASCAR if it takes 10 years or 20. I want to be the most successful female race car driver in history. If I can accomplish that there is no telling what opportunities will arise from there.”
You can follow Sarah Cornett-Ching on her Twitter page @scornettching.