Sarah Cornett-Ching has more experience at Carteret County Speedway than the rest of the field combined heading into Saturday night’s Carolina Pro Late Model Series, and the Canadian native hopes that experience will propel her to her first win.
Cornett-Ching has competed in five Late Model Stock Car races at Carteret County Speedway, scoring a fifth-place finish in a May 2018 race. This season, she is competing part-time in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series and is ecstatic about returning to the flat Coastal Carolina track.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” Cornett-Ching told Short Track Scene. “This is the best track to come to probably in the whole state. It’s so nice to be here. The Carolina Pro Late Model Series puts on a really good show. I’ve got House of Raeford on the car and they’re gonna sponsor the pole award for the evening, so hopefully, we can snag that and have a good race.”
Cornett-Ching, who now calls Eastern North Carolina home, hopes her previous experience at the track combined with the laps she has logged in testing will be advantageous on Saturday.
“This place is really unique,” she said. “It’s super flat so it takes a different setup and a different kind of driving style, so hopefully we can use it to our advantage. I know how the car needs to feel here to be quick and I think that should play into our hands, especially because I think they’re only giving us one practice session. Hopefully, with our experience and a little bit of testing and all that, we’ll be really quick.”
Her previous starts at Carteret County Speedway include a CARS Tour appearance in 2018 and a run in the 2019 Solid Rock Carriers 150 – the two marathon Late Model Stock Car races that have since been dropped from the track’s schedule. Saturday’s Carolina Pro Late Model Series race, which is one of the track’s marquee events, will be 100 laps, something Cornett-Ching thinks will challenge the field.
“It’s a pretty long race for here,” Cornett-Ching explained. “I don’t think any of the local divisions ever run that many laps here. It’ll be a race of attrition, I think. I know they invert. If you qualify well, you could end up eighth or so which is tough here because it’s hard to pass. We’ll just see how it plays out. I don’t want to give away too many secrets. This track is just a little bit different when it comes to running longer races. It’ll be fun and it’ll separate the men from the boys so to speak.”
The goal for Cornett-Ching is the same as it is for any other driver – winning. A victory on Saturday would be special for her given the adversity she has faced since she began racing in the United States a little over a half-decade ago.
“Things could always go better, but I think that’s what makes you stronger and more determined to succeed,” Cornett Ching remarked. “A win would be super important. Since I’ve come down here racing in the south, it’s been a slow progression to speed and we’re finally there. We led some laps last race at Hickory and the car’s been really solid. To win here at Carteret could be really special.”
Sarah Cornett-Ching is one of 14 drivers who have pre-entered to compete in Saturday night’s race, dubbed the Crystal Coast Classic. Of those 14 drivers, the only other driver who has competed in a race at Carteret County Speedway is Josh Van Winkle, a native of Carteret County who has competed in a Charger race at the track.
The Crystal Coast Classic will be carried live on the Pit Row TV streaming service.