Young Cornell impressive in Lucas Oil Speedway Out-Pace USRA B-Mods
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August 18, 2016  |  by Lyndal Scranton

Kaeden Cornell, age 15, is fourth in the Out-Pace USRA B-Mod points race at Lucas Oil Speedway entering Saturday's program. (Chris Bork photo)

WHEATLAND, Mo.—Rarely do young race-car drivers show an ability to run near the front and do so while demonstrating respect for veteran competitors and their equipment.

Kaeden Cornell has demonstrated all of that at Lucas Oil Speedway. The 15-year-old from Willard is an impressive fourth in the highly competitive Ozark Golf Cars B-Mod points chase without denting fenders or making enemies.

"He races with a lot of respect and he takes a lot of advice from us older guys," series points leader J.C. Morton said of Cornell. "There's been several nights when we've raced side by side and never have touched. He seems to be pretty good and respectful.

"Usually a young kid like that, they're pretty aggressive, overdriving and don't take care of their equipment. It seems like for the most part he takes care of his stuff and keeps his nose clean. He races you like you'd like to be raced with."

Cornell is the Tailgate Guys Radio Show Spotlight Driver of the Week for Lucas Oil Speedway. He looks for a fourth straight top-five finish when the Budweiser Weekly Championship Series resumes on Saturday with Travel Centers of America Night at the Races along with Petro Stopping Centers Fan Appreciation Night.

The sophomore at Willard High School, who also plays small forward for the school's basketball team, said he strives to stay in good standing with the older drivers.

"I haven't really made any enemies that I know of," Cornell said. "They have been very supportive of me whenever I ask questions. Me and Andy Bryant (another teen Modified driver, from Fort Scott, Kan.) raced go-karts together. He's helped me quite a bit."

Cornell started racing go-karts when he was five years old, graduated to Midwest Mods at 13 and into B Mods a year ago. His dad, Aaron Cornell, raced Pro-4s on area tracks before Kaeden was born and grandpa Glen Cornell used to do mechanical work for ARCA teams.

Kaeden said his dad puts in long hours in the shop preparing the car. Nathan Gold and Mitchell Waiters also help out behind the scenes.

"We've figured out the car better than we ever have and I think I'm getting better as a driver," Cornell said of the recent streak of solid finishes. He added that there's no substitute for experience, especially against top-notch competition alongside drivers like Morton, Kris Jackson and other B Mod regulars at Lucas.

"You get top-of-the-line competition every weekend, with 40-50 B Mods every week," Cornell said.

The biggest goal for the rest of the season is to maintain consistency.

"I'd like to keep getting top-fives," he said. "A win would be nice, but in the B-Mod division that's pretty hard no matter where you race. I think we're getting close, but we want to finish out the season how we're running right now. That would be pretty good."

Cornell's weekends in the fall will be busy. This week he's headed to Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday before returning to Lucas on Saturday. He's scheduled to make his first visit to the Fall Jamboree at Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota in October.

"We can't do all we do without our sponsors and I have to thank them," Cornell said, mentioning Cloverleaf Auto Repair, Signature Wood Floors and D.R. Racing.

"I also have to thank God," he added. "And also my grandparents, Linda Cornell and Glen Cornell. We couldn't do it without them."

Only two weeks remain in the regular season at Lucas Oil Speedway. Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds will run a special 25-lap feature on Saturday, paying $750 to win. ALPS Food Stores ULMA Late Models, Carson's Corner NAPA Street Stocks and Ozark Golf Cars B Mods also are on the schedule.

Gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday with hot laps at 7 and racing at 7:30.

Ticket prices are:

Adults (16 and up) $12
Seniors (62 and up)/Military $9
Youth (6-15) $5
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family Pass $25 (Click Here for more information)
Pit Pass $25

The Tailgate Guys Guys Radio Show can be heard each Saturday from 11:05 a.m.-noon on AM 1340 KICK or online at 1340BigTalker.com. For more info on the show, with co-hosts Lyndal Scranton and Steve Koehler, check out Facebook.com/TailgateGuysRadio.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With it's entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click www.LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984. In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.



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