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Lucas Oil Speedway Spotlight: Fan favorite Cornell looks to make most in break from Super Late Models

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WHEATLAND, MO. (April 24, 2024) - Kaeden Cornell ventured into the world of Super Late Model racing with big dreams and a limited budget. That combination usually doesn't lead to a great deal of success against teams that combine talent and money.

The 23-year-old from Willard still has aspirations to compete at the highest level of Late Model racing, at some point. But for now, he and team owners Rick and Melissa Hoover, are returning to their roots.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing for Cornell, a four-time Lucas Oil Speedway winner of the fan-voted Most Popular Driver Award from 2017-20.

"Right now, I just want to race. I actually haven't got to race a lot the last couple of years," Cornell said. "I know it sounds cliche, but I want to win races."

Driving the same Black Diamond chassis as he debuted in 2023 but with different tire, motor and shock packages, Cornell is back at Lucas Oil Speedway - at least occasionally - in the Hermitage Lumber POWRi Late Model division. He finished second to reigning track champ Justin Wells in last week's Big Adventure RV Weekly Championship Series program and looks forward to giving it another go this Saturday night.

"Any time I get to go back there, it's like a homecoming," Cornell said of Lucas. "That place is like home with all the laps we've made there. It's great to be back and see all the fans, the racers, the staff and everyone there. Everyone is always so nice there."

Cornell started out at Lucas Oil Speedway in USRA B-Mods before becoming a championship contender in the weekly Late Model Series when Rick Hoover gave him a ride in 2017. He won three Late Model features in 2019 and two more in 2020.

From 2021-23, he and Hoover Motorsports gave the higher levels of dirt Late Models a try and had a few top-10 runs scattered along the way. But the team was plagued by motor issues and had to back it down this season, after only attempting seven races in 2023.

Despite the frustration, Cornell thinks he's become a wiser driver with some of that experience against the national and regional teams.

"Just how hard those guys drive," Cornell said of his top takeaway. "You can't take one lap off. It's dog-eat-dog. That's why they're the best of what they do."

Something that seems straightforward, such as time trials to earn a heat-race starting position, is of ultra importance.

"You go out and make those two laps and I'd pull in and tell Dad (and crew chief Aaron Cornell) that I was exhausted," Cornell said. "You're just holding your breath the whole time because those laps are so important. If you start in the back against those guys, you might as well load up and go home.

"The open Late Model deal, it straight-up comes down to funds. It's so expensive to be competitive. I'm so thankful for Rick and Melissa Hoover. They've been so good to me, giving me the opportunity to drive a Late Model."

Cornell said there's a chance, if the season goes well, the team could enter a couple of Lucas Oil MLRA type of races late in the season. Two of his better runs came last fall, a 10th and a seventh on back-to-back nights at the MLRA Ron Jenkins Memorial.

But for now, he's keeping his focus on once again winning at Wheatland and some other regional ovals. He plans to hit some other POWRi Late Model events and Cash Money Late Model Series races this summer.

"At least we got the dust knocked off," he said of last week's runner-up finish. "I haven't got to race a bunch the last two years. It was good to be back at Lucas Oil Speedway, where we've made a bunch of laps.

"I wish we had won our heat race and had a chance to start up front in the feature. Justin's really good. There's a reason he's in the Hall of Fame."

Cornell''s sponsors include Hoover Motorsports, Cloverleaf Auto Repair, Asphalt Sealcoating and Striping, Oil & Octane Shop, Millard Family Chapel, Midwest Sheet Metal, Black Diamond Race Cars, Mullins Race Engines, Choate Farms, Swift Springs, TruForm Race Products, Dynamic Drivelines, Simpson Race Products, MyRacePass, SuperMoon Graphics, G-Six Detailing and Smoke Racing.

USRA Stock Cars features on Saturday: Lucas Oil Speedway returns to action on Saturday with the Round 2 of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Championship Series with Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Night at the Races. Headlining the action will be the O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars, which will be running a special 25-lap, $750-to-win feature.

The Hermitage Lumber POWRi Late Models, Arctic Food Equipment USRA Modifieds and Clear Creek Golf Cars USRA B-Mods also will be in action.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 4:30, hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05. The earlier opening to the grandstands this season is to allow kids a chance to sign up for the RCR Designs Jr. Fan Club and take part in flagman Mike Striegel's Pit Tour prior to the races. Youngsters ages 5-12 eligible to sign up for a pre-race tour of the pits where they can meet drivers.

Kids can sign up for the RCR Designs Jr Fan Club on the south end of the Midway after grandstand gates open.

Saturday admission:

Advance discount tickets (13 and up) online only - $12

Adults (13 and up) - $15

Seniors (62 and up)/Military - $12

Youth (ages 6-12) - $5

Kids (5-and-under - FREE

Family pass - $35

Pit pass - $35

For ticket information about any event on the 2024 Lucas Oil Speedway schedule, fans can contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 295-6043 or via email at nmcmillan@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information about any event on the 2024 Lucas Oil Speedway scheduled.


Danny Lorton

Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager

Office: (417) 282-5984


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Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and schedules 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. The Lucas Oil Speedway EZ Texting number is (417) 804-4141.

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

About Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" lives up to its title.

Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. This year marks the 12th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, "Lake Lucas." New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring a host of regional events.

Lucas Oil Speedway's dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.

In addition to the special events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Weekly Racing Series features the Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.

2024 Official Lucas Oil Speedway Marketing Partners

Arizona Sport Shirts

"The Official Merchandise Provider" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Bill Roberts Chevrolet

"The Official Truck" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Dixie Chopper

"The Official Mowers of Lucas Oil Speedway"

General Tire

"The Official Tire" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Products

"The Official Oil" of Lucas Oil Speedway


"The Official Television Network" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper

"The Official Soft Drink" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Rugged Radios

"The Official 2-Way Communications Provider" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Summit Racing Equipment

"The Official Sponsor" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Sunoco Race Fuels

"The Official Fuel" of Lucas Oil Speedway

2024 Lucas Oil Speedway Supporters Include:

AM Pyrotechnics, Alliance Sport Marketing, Arctic Food Equipment, Arizona Sport Shirts, Berry Tractor and Equipment Co., Big Adventure RV, Bill Roberts Chevrolet, Bolivar Auto Sales & Detailing, Bolivar Farmers Exchange-MFA, Boone's BBQ Barn, Boubin Tire/American Racer, Bridal Cave, BWI Sanitation, Candlelight Creations-Dick's Wild Root Horseradish, Casey's, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, City Magnet, Clearlight Inn, Dixie Chopper, Eibach Springs, Farmers Insurance Agent Kristy Reynolds, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Hermitage Lumber, HICKAMO Country Store, Hobbytime Motorsports, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps, In the Garden of Eden, KC Bobcat, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, Lucas Cattle Company, MD3, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welding, Missouri Division of Tourism, MyRacePass, Nutrien Ag Solutions, OakStar Bank, O'Bannon Bank, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Ozark Golf Cars, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper, Ozarks Community Health Center, PEM, Pitts Homes, Pitts Realty, Pitts Cattle, Pomme de Terre Resort, ProThings Apparel, RACEceiver, Racinboys.com, RacinDirt.com, Rains Ice Company, RCR Designs, Real Racing Wheels, Rod End Supply, Ron Jenkins Accounting & Tax Service, Rugged Radios, Ryan E. Murphy Law Firm LLC, SBU Athletics, Safety Kleen, Scott Furniture, Sidetrack RV Park, Simpson Racing Products, Southwest Electric Cooperative, State Tech, Stillwater Resort, Summit Racing Equipment, Sunoco Race Fuels, Turn 1 Bar & Grill, US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Vietti Marketing Group, Wheatland Motel, White's Marine Center, Wieland, Wild Animal Safari, Woods Supermarkets.