FRASERVILLE, ON- After engine troubles nearly ended his 2014 OSCAAR Super Late Model championship campaign before it had even began, Kevin Cornelius regrouped in preparation for Kawartha Speedway. The sophomore impressed throughout the day, however a blown power steering line late in the event ended his debut prematurely.
“With all that’s happened over the course of the last two weeks, we’re just happy to be here today”, grinned Cornelius as his car worked through pre-race inspection early in the afternoon.
“I can’t say enough about the Leitch Performance Engines and McColl Racing Enterprises staff. They worked alongside [KDR Motorsports Car Chief] Grant Mitchell throughout Friday evening to get our motor back in this car. This one went right down to the eleventh hour, and there’s no chance it would’ve been made possible without their hard work”
The Shelburne, ON-based driver appeared comfortable through practice and qualifying, finding consistent lap times despite a lack of experience at the 3/8 mile oval.
“We definitely started out the day on a high note”, explained a dejected Cornelius post-race. “This team worked to find a great package for us, here. And I was really starting to get a feel for the track – even with our practice cut short. JR Fitzpatrick was a big help in helping me find the quick way around this place”
By virtue of OSCAAR’s invert system, Cornelius rolled from the pole position in the 50-lap feature event, bringing the 22-car field to green.
“Starting pole in my first race at the speedway was a tense moment”, admitted Cornelius with a smile. “But, early on, the car felt great. I was learning with each passing lap, and the car was strong enough to keep me up front as I worked to find the perfect line”
“Unfortunately, our car began to tighten up relatively quickly”, continued the former Limited Late Model champion. “There were quite a few cautions through the opening laps, and the more cautions we had, the tighter the car would get. We just couldn’t get it to work on the short runs. I was praying for a long green flag run that never came”
With only two laps remaining, Cornelius’ impressive run came to a halt in a plume of smoke on the back straightaway.
“After the engine problems we dealt with days before the season, I immediately thought we had lost another one. My heart jumped into my throat”, explained Cornelius. “Thankfully, once we got the car back to the pits, we realized it was just the power steering line”
“It’s bitter sweet”, continued Cornelius. “Obviously I’m relieved we didn’t lose another engine, but I really wanted to give my guys a top-3 today”
“My crew worked night and day to get this car ready after we brought it home on Friday. They deserved a good run, and I hate not being able to give it to them”
“I feel as though I left a lot out there, today. It’s never easy unloading at a new speedway with limited practice time available. I can guarantee we’ll be a lot stronger when we come back here on July 13th”
Cornelius’ KDR Motorsports team will have a brief layoff, before running to action for Round 3 of the tour at Barrie Speedway on June 14th.
Kevin Cornelius is proud to carry marketing support from Halton Crushed Stone, Lee Sand & Gravel, Sandbox Tech Child Care, TripleCrete Ltd., Hanson Pipe & Precast, Alliston Transmission, Ed’s Automotive and MacMaster Pontiac Buick GMC.
Fans can follow the team on Twitter @KDR_Motorsports as they prepare for Round 3 of the OSCAAR Super Late Model Tour.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)