With the goal to rebound from an unfortunate circumstance in the last dirt race two weeks ago at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the sensational ARCA rookie unloaded solid in the traditional Labor Day event, producing respectable lap times during the lone practice session on Monday morning.
An 18th place qualifying effort in the No. 2 RACE 101 Chevrolet meant that Cornett-Ching and her team had work to do to get towards the front, but it was a challenge the team readily accepted.
From the moment that green flag dropped, Cornett-Ching with coaching from her owner and mentor Tony Blanchard steadily worked their way forward with Cornett-Ching making significant gains the longer the race went.
Steadily working her way forward, Cornett-Ching made her mandatory pit stop early and kept a points strategy in mind that propelled her to tie the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards record for the best finish by a female competitor on a dirt track with a 11th place finish in her rookie season.
With her effort, Cornett-Ching tied former racer Christi Passmore who also posted an 11th place run on the dirt 11 years ago in 2004 in her third season of competition.
"Tony (Blanchard) and I discussed it before the race and I learned Monday what it's like to race with a business mind-set," said Cornett-Ching. "We raced for points and we drove to the conditions of the race track. We gained points on our competitors and we ended up with an 11th place finish.
"I'm proud of our race. These dirt races aren't easy. DuQuoin was no exception. It was extremely hot, but Tony and the Race 101 team did a great job getting the car more competitive as the race went on and when it came to crunch time, we were right there. It feels good to have a strong finish that we can carry to Salem in two weeks and the rest of the season."
With just three races remaining on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour, Cornett-Ching further distanced herself from her seventh place competitor and appears to be in prime position to tie another female competitor for the highest finishing female racer in the championship standings.
"The season is 80 percent over," added Cornett-Ching. "Sometimes you like a track and sometimes you don't, so we set a strategy to have a great points day and it worked. I drove to the car limitations and my experience level and we ended up on the lead lap in 11th.
"I did not agree with Tony's plan and we actually head heated discussions in the later part of the race. But, once again Tony had my best interest in mind and we prevailed. It's aggravating, but he's almost always right."
With Cornett-Ching's 12th top-15 finish of 2015, the team sets their sights on returning to Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Sept. 21, where the 24-year-old hopes to better her 12th place run at the historic short track.
"Salem was very challenging in April," added Cornett-Ching. "It was a very unique track. Something I've never experienced in my racing career, but I'm anxiously awaiting the opportunity to go back there and grab another top-10 finish this season."
Sarah Cornett-Ching is active on Twitter. You can follow and tweet with her @scornettching. The latest information on her racing career, as well an inside look at RACE 101 is available on her Facebook page at Facebook.com/SCCracing.
Driver: Sarah Cornett-Ching on Twitter @scornettching or visit sccracing.com or on Facebook.
Marketing Partner: RACE 101: RACE 101.
Sanction: ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards: ARCARacing.com.