BARRIE, ON- After a tumultuous start to his 2014 OSCAAR Super Late Model season, Kevin Cornelius was rewarded for his weeks of determination at Barrie Speedway on June 14th. Triumphing over a race-long battle with fellow sophomore Andrew Gresel, Cornelius earned his first ever tour victory in just his 10th career start.
“What a huge relief this is”, said Cornelius after flashing his trademark grin post-race, “this is exactly what we’ve been working towards. After all of the bad luck, and all of the hard work, it’s an absolute honour to bring this trophy home for the guys that work so hard on this car”
Cornelius opened his 2014 campaign with a blown motor just days before the tour’s season opener at Sunset, relegating the sophomore to a back-up car provided by chassis manufacturer Mike McColl of McColl Racing Enterprises. The Shelburne, ON driver was on pace to fare better in Round 2 at Kawartha, until a ruptured power steering line relegated him to a 14th place result.
“This is just the medicine this team needs after a rough start to the year”, explained Cornelius. “I could stand here and talk all night, and wouldn’t be able to thank this KDR Motorsports team enough. I wanted this so badly. I wanted to come out and get this team a win to thank them for their dedication”
“No matter what we ask of this team, they never seem to bat an eye. I have the best crew I could ever ask for”
Despite Cornelius’ head-turning performance in the feature event, the sophomore was quick to note just how much the team struggled in afternoon practice.
“This car was a work in progress almost all day”, said Cornelius. “We struggled in practice. The car was way off. I mean, downright evil. Any time I let off the throttle, the car would want to jump straight to the wall. It was unlike anything I’ve ever had to deal with before”
“Thankfully, we were able to make a call to Mike McColl, and he was able to point us in the right direction”
When asked of the side-by-side battle that brought the Barrie Speedway fans to their feet, Cornelius spoke highly of championship rival Andrew Gresel.
“That was some of the most fun I’ve ever had”, smiled Cornelius. “Andrew [Gresel] raced me hard, but clean. I’ll race side-by-side with him any day of the week. He made me work for the win, but at no point was I worried he would dump me. That kind of racing is exactly the reason we wanted to run with the OSCAAR tour to begin with”
“I won the Sunset [Speedway] championship in 2011, and that was a huge deal for our entire team”, explained Cornelius, “but this is every bit as big. Working towards this win has been a team effort, this is the culmination of a lot of hours in the shop”
Moments after loading clearing tech and loading up after his first career victory, Cornelius was already looking toward his next start with Ontario’s premier tour.
“This gives us a lot of momentum heading into the Don Biederman Memorial”, offered Cornelius. “Sunset’s our home track, and if we can get this car to work anywhere near as well as it did tonight, I’m confident we’ll have a shot at the win. This MRE chassis has never worked better, and I’ve never felt better about our program”
Kevin Cornelius’ McColl Racing Enterprises chassis is powered by a Leich Performance engine and sponsored by 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 the OSCAAR tour’s first Crown Jewel of the Summer, the Don Biederman Memorial.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)