10 Questions With 2014 New Egypt Speedway Sportsman Champion Johnny Cornell


By: Pete MacDonald

If you could win a championship in any form of racing, would you want to want to be the underdog going into the final points night, only to come out on top in the end? That’s what Johnny Cornell did at New Egypt Speedway this past season, going into the final points night 16 points behind points leader Bob Lineman Jr., after Lineman encountered some bad luck, and Cornell going on to win the race even after contact with a lapped car would become the 2014 New Egypt Speedway Sportsman Champion. I recently had a chance to sit down and do a 10 questions segment with Cornell.

PM: If someone gave you an unlimited budget to build a race track, what would it be?
JC: A revised Flemington Speedway with that black clay that used to be down at New Egypt Speedway.

PM: Where do you want your career to go?
JC: In a perfect world, MODIFIEDS. John Stangle gave me the opportunity to run his car last year and the caliber of drivers and challenge of the modified’s they really are a lot fun and it makes you so much better as a driver. When I was only 7 my goal was to run Dirt Modified’s so that has always been what I have been chasing. Oh, and a USAC Sprint Car ride would be pretty cool too!

PM: In your career, what would be the best experience you’ve ever had due to racing?
JC: Defiantly winning the 2014 New Egypt Speedway Sportsman Championship!

PM: What type of surface do you prefer? Dry/Slick or Tacky/Heavy?
JC: Tacky/Heavy towards the beginning but getting to the Dry towards the end.

PM: If you could win one race you haven’t won yet, what would it be?
JC: Well I would say the Syracuse 200 or 150, if I ever got the great opportunity to run at the mile!

PM: What do you do away from the race track besides race?
JC: Work for Amwell Auto Body, spend time with my girlfriend, Shannon and hang out with all my racing buddies

PM: If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
JC: My Grandpa John, he passed away before I was born, but from what I am told he was an awesome guy!

PM: If you could race any race car in history, what would it be?
JC: Jimmy Horton’s Dutchess Overhead Door #87 that used to dominate at East Windsor.

PM: $10,000 to win, your running 2nd, do you crash the guy to win?
JC: It all depends on who’s leading the race. I don’t think I would wreck them, but if its someone who has run me dirty in the past I may lean on them a bit harder than I would anybody else!

PM: Last Question, if you could change anything about the sport of short track racing what would you change about it?
JC: The Price of EVERYTHING! The economy is not where it used to be and it’s pretty safe to say it will never get back there. The reason why car counts drop is because, people just cannot afford racing anymore, if you lowered the cost and made all the tracks agree on 1 set of rules so that you could run anywhere with the same car I think it would make short track racing strive!

When people talk about the future of Dirt Modified racing, this kid can very well be a future star with the correct funding. Johnny’s 2015 plans include defending his Sportsman Championship at New Egypt Speedway along with following the Race of Champions Dirt Sportsman Series.

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