“It was very ironic how all this came about,” Cornell admitted. “We were actually going to concentrate on the pavement starts this year, but out here in the Midwest pavement (midget racing) has just totally dried up. There’s just nothing existing since Grundy County (Speedway) pulled the plug in May.”
“Bottom line, we decided to turn directions and concentrate on the dirt, and about that same time I had a friend of Johnny’s father – Joe Pirelli, who I was acquainted with through the sport but hadn’t seen or spoken to in many years – give me a call and instigated the two of us talking about doing some racing together. Now we’re getting ready to make this all happen and I think it’s going to be a solid situation for all of us.”
The Cornell team has long been known for its innovation and for being at the forefront of introducing new technology to the midget world, and they look to continue that going into their new tenure.
“We’re experimentalists,” Cornell said of his family-owned and operated race team. “Half our shop is a race shop and half of it is a machine shop. We put a lot of R&D time into what we do in hopes that we’ll hit on technology that will keep midget racing affordable and be able to strengthen the sport as a whole, as well as keep us competitive with the likes of Keith Kunz and the multi-car power teams of this modern era.”
With a brand-new, opposed-style Volkswagen motor powering the machine, Petrozelle is confident that he and the Cornells will be able to quickly find speed and establish a rhythm, despite the potential unknowns of the package.
“The new engine package we are bringing to midget competition is a whole new animal,” Petrozelle explained. “For me, it’s a new owner, a new team of mechanics, a new division and different tracks for me. For them, they’re working with a new guy who has no non-wing experience. I’m sure there will be a period of figuring it all out, but I have a lot of confidence in the Cornell Racing Stables and myself to overcome that and have something to write home about shortly. With all that all being said, it’s never fun to sit in the stands and watch the A-main, so if we can consistently make the A-mains, rub elbows with the stars this season, prepare and learn how to capture these victories, Id’ be happy for now.”
“The competition’s tough. I want to take care of our equipment and hopefully prepare for a shot at the title next season. It’s a small team, so a couple roll-overs could hurt our program significantly. I hope the exposure of the national circuits, consistent strong finishes and the history of the Cornell team can attract a sponsor for bigger events, such as the Chili Bowl, and support for a title run next season.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
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