ARCA: From welder to race car driver, Sarah Cornett-Ching continues her building prowess


Sarah Cornett-Ching knows all about building things. Even though she’s only 24 years old, for several years she was an in-demand union welder in her native Canada.

It’s not been unusual for the Summerland, British Columbia native to go deep in the Canadian wilderness and work outside, working her welding craft in temperatures of 30-below.

But if she continues driving the way she has in the ARCA Series, Cornett-Ching may soon be turning in her union card for a steering wheel permanently.

Cornett-Ching has become one of the most-watched drivers in ARCA, and seems to continue to improve with each passing race.

Earlier this month, she finished a career-best eighth in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway.

She then followed that up with a ninth-place finish on the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park. In so doing she became the highest finishing female on a road course – in her first-ever road course race, mind you – in ARCA’s 57-year history.

Currently seventh in ARCA’s standings, Cornett-Ching is looking forward to continue her progress in her next race two weeks from now at Michigan International Speedway.

While she’s taking it race by race, she already has a lofty goal of how she hopes to finish this season.

“I believe we definitely have a shot at a top-five, and we’ll keep pushing for that,” Cornett-Ching said in an ARCA media release.

If she achieves that goal, she’ll set yet another ARCA record as the first female driver to finish in the top-five year-end standings. Former driver Shawna Robinson holds the mark for the highest finishing female driver in a single ARCA season, ending up sixth in 2000.

“I really think we can do it the way our runs have been going,” Cornett-Ching said. “If we can just keep finishing races without tearing up cars, and as long as we finish, we’ve got a realistic shot. The key is finishing everywhere. Tearing up cars is hard on the crew, and puts everything behind.”

Sarah Cornett-Ching showing her welding skills. (Photo courtesy ARCA)

But if she tears up a car, Cornett-Ching has the ability to put it back together with her welding and fabrication skills.

How many other drivers in ARCA or NASCAR can boast the same thing?

Because of limited funding and testing time, Cornett-Ching has taken to some unusual measures to learn about the tracks she will compete upon, including perusing overhead views of those tracks from Google Maps, as well as taking part in online racing.

“I haven’t been to any of these tracks in ARCA,” she said. “They’re all new to me. I’ve never been to Michigan, and I really know nothing about the place.

“I’m not going to get the chance to test, so I’ll get on and do the iRacing (online reality game) thing. But it’s hard to get a real grasp on anything if you haven’t done it. It’s like drafting at Daytona or Talladega. Someone can explain it to me a million times on how to draft, but until you actually experience it, you really have no idea of what’s coming.

“IRacing) does give you some clues … the shape of the track, the lift points. You actually feel the bumps in each track, so it’s good for programming your brain when you’re trying to hit your marks lap after lap. But, I’m finding out that it’s really tough to get a grasp on any track until you’ve actually done it.”

Team owner Tony Blanchard and driver Sarah Cornett-Ching. (Photo courtesy ARCA)

Cornett-Ching now lives just outside Charlotte in Denver, N.C., where team owner (and her crew chief) Tony Blanchard is based.

And instead of welding, she’s racing the full 2015 ARCA schedule with hopes that it leads to even greater racing challenges going forward.

“Sarah is unique in the world of motorsports,” Blanchard said. “There are plenty of good drivers, but Sarah’s ability to race, fabricate components on the race car and stand in front of a camera and represent herself and her team as well as she does is rare.

“I want this year’s racing season to be the start of something big for this young lady. She deserves every bit of the success I know she’s got coming.”

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Saturday’s Supercross Round 5 in Houston: How to watch, start times, streaming info


The championship race has tightened up as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, for Round 5 of the 2023 season.

With his 450 victory in the Anaheim Triple Crown, Chase Sexton has moved within four points of two-time and defending series champion Eli Tomac.

Jason Anderson is coming off a second place in Anaheim after crashing out of the first two rounds while racing in the top five. Ken Roczen earned his first podium last week since the 2022 season opener and the first for Suzuki since Chad Reed at Detroit in 2019.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 5 of the 2023 Supercross schedule at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023:

(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 5 will begin Saturday at 8 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock and will re-air Monday, Feb. 6 at 1 a.m. on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race.

ENTRY LISTS: 450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET):

Here are the start times for Saturday, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

2:05-2:15 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 1
2:20-2:30 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
2:35-2:45 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
2:50-3 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
3:05-3:15 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
3:20-3:30 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 1
4:20-4:30 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 2
4:35-4:45 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
4:50-5 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:05-5:15 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:20-5:30 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
5:35-5:45 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 2
8:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
8:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
8:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
8:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
9:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:33 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:53 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
10:27 p.m.: 450SX Main Event


Click here to view the track map


FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Oakland postponed by storms

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown


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Malcolm Stewart aims for 450 breakthrough

A new attitude for Adam Cianciarulo in 2023

Ken Roczen signs with Suzuki

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a fine line with competition and fans

Three talented rookies move up to 450

Jett Lawrence wants to run 450 division for SMX playoffs