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June 21, 2018

Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Youngsters Cornell, Moore look to continue momentum into season's second half

Kaeden Cornell
Seventeen-year-old Kaeden Cornell captured his first Lucas Oil Speedway Late Model win on Saturday. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Wheatland, Missouri (June 21, 2018) - The first half of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series concluded with two young drivers making loud statements that they have arrived as contenders. One did so with a dominating victory and the other with a daring pass for the sweetest third-place of his career.

Either way, it was a memorable night for 17-year-old Kaeden Cornell in the Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Model division and 22-year-old Taylor Moore in the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods. They are Tailgate Guys Radio Drivers of the Week for Lucas Oil Speedway and look to continue momentum as the second half of the season begins this Saturday night.

Cornell scored a dominating first career victory at Lucas Oil Speedway and just his second win in a Late Model since first climbing into the Rick Hoover Motorsports car last summer. Moore, meanwhile, edged JC Morton for a Midseason Championship when he passed the former track champ on the final lap for third place.

"I still don't think it's all the way sunk in yet," Cornell said this week. "Every time I go out in public, especially with Willard being Willard, a pretty small town, everybody is telling me 'good job.'

"It's a pretty big deal to win at Lucas. Just the pedestal that Lucas is on is pretty unreal and a lot of people notice. A lot of work went into that one. All three years we've been running there, I think every one of those (races) went into this win."

Hopes were high as Cornell, voted by fans as Lucas Oil Speedway's "Most Popular Driver" in 2017 - moved into the Late Model full time in 2018 after splitting time between it and his B-Mod a year ago. But a series of mechanical failures made for a nightmarish first couple of months that left him buried in the points chase.

Cornell said the team did its best to remain positive even as "we were breaking stuff that no one's ever heard of. Dad (Aaron) just kept saying 'stay positive, it'll come.'"

Sure enough, it did. And with a backup motor less powerful than two others that he gone sour. Cornell found a high groove and sailed to victory by a comfortable margin over Johnny Fennewald.

The win was extra special because it came on Father's Day weekend and Kaeden thanked Aaron, who does the majority of wrenching on the car, in victory lane. He also thanked Hoover, the veteran car owner who identified Cornell as a youngster with personality and talent over a year ago.

"That man has done more for us, especially this year with everything that's happened," Cornell said. "We owed that one to Rick."

Taylor Moore

Taylor Moore and his family celebrate the Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod midseason championship last Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway. (Kenny Shaw photo)

Meanwhile, Moore enjoyed a career highlight without winning the race. As Andy Bryant passed Kris Jackson on the last lap for the win, Moore was using a high-side move of his own to get past Morton about 50 yards behind the top two. That was enough for a four-point margin and a $500 bonus for the midseason points title.

Moore admitted he "would have laughed" if someone suggested to him before the season he would be atop the points at midseason. The Bois D'Arc resident, who grew up excelling in go-karts, has five top-five finishes in five starts.

"At the beginning of the year, I wasn't really going for that," he said of the points chase. "We're gonna try to keep getting top-five finishes and hopefully some top-threes. I'd love to win one. That's the ultimate goal. But as long as we keep being consistent, that'll pay off in the end."

Winning the duel with Morton was especially meaningful in that the 2016 USRA B-Mod national champ often offers Moore helpful advice.

"We've known each other for a long time and raced go-karts together," Moore said. "He's helped me quite a bit. You get comfortable racing against somebody like him and he's a good friend."

As for the decisive pass, Moore said he decided to be aggressive and see what happened.

"The track seemed heavy to me at the time and JC had gotten past me about the middle of the race. I finally went for it on the top and I found some speed up there," he said. "It worked out in my favor.

"To race against JC and all those guys of his caliber ... it's a lot of fun."

The Tailgate Guys Radio Show airs each Saturday, 11:05 a.m.-noon on KICK 92.3 FM, 1340 AM and online streaming at 923kick.com. The show covers barbecue and sports with a segment each week on news from Lucas Oil Speedway.

Saturday is National Wild Turkey Federation Race to Save the Hunt Night with the Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds in the spotlight for a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win main event. The Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and Big O Tires Street Stocks also will resume chase of season championships.

The dirt-track program is sandwiched between a big weekend on the off road course next door. Those purchasing tickets to the day-time GEICO Off Road Shootout Presented by General Tire or a weekend pass to the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series action will gain free admission to the oval-track action.

Gates at the dirt track will open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and opening ceremonies at 7.

Fans interested in the also attending the GEICO Off Road Shootout can purchase tickets online prior to the event at a discount. Off road tickets include access to the pit area, where spectators can get up close to the race vehicles and drivers.

Spectator gates at the off road track will open at 8 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday with practice starting at 8:30 a.m. followed by qualifying. A drivers' autograph session is set for 11 a.m. with Junior Kart, Mod Kart and Turbo UTV races beginning at 11:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies are at 2 p.m., followed by the Pro 2, UTV, Pro Buggy, Pro Lite and Pro 4 races.

For Friday practice, spectator gates open at noon with practice sessions at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

A look at the weekend schedule and ticket prices:

GEICO Off Road Shootout Presented by General Tire
General Admission Tickets

Friday practice day
Adults (16 and over) $10
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $10
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Adult Weekend Pass $50 advance online, $60 at the gate
Senior (62 and over)/Military Weekend Pass $44 advance online, $54 at the gate
Youth (ages 6-15) Weekend Pass $20

Saturday-Sunday
(All tickets include access to Off Road pit area. All Saturday and three-day tickets include entry to the Dirt Track Event on Saturday night)
Adults (16 and over) $25 advance online, $30 at the gate
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $22 advance online, $27 at the gate
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5-and-under) FREE
Adult Weekend Pass $50 advance online, $60 at the gate
Senior (62 and over)/Military Weekend Pass $44 advance online, $54 at the gate
Youth (ages 6-15) $20 in advance online and at the gate

Saturday dirt-track tickets
(Free with Off Road admission)
Adults (16 and over) $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $9
Youth (ages 6-15) $5
Kids (5-and-under) FREE
Family pass $25
Pit pass $30

For ticket information on all events at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2018, contact admission director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or by email at nichole@LucasOilSpeedway.com. Fans also can go online to purchase tickets for any event on the 2018 schedule.

Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived stories, ticket information and 2018 schedule can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway.