Kaeden Cornell: from dirt tracks to the national stage

Find a racer and you’ll find somebody who hates staying home.

“If you have a racer in your family, and they can’t get to the track, it’s rough,” said Willard’s Tracy Cornell.

Tracy’s son, Kaeden Cornell, is no different.

“I hope we get back racing soon,” Kaeden said.

In the meantime, the 19-year old dirt track driver is staying busy.

“I come home and spend a bunch of time on the computer,” Kaeden said.

But Kaeden’s not turning these virtual laps just for fun.

“I told my dad, I was like ‘this is going to sound crazy, but this computer race is one of the biggest races I’ve ever ran,” he said.

After finishing second in the first World of Outlaws late model iRacing event, Fox Sports 1 decided to air the second race as a national broadcast. Kaeden got the invite.

“I feel really weird that I’m running on national television from something at my house,” Kaeden said with a smile.

“Because it’s all online, it’s all based on Wifi, so I’m the one stressing out,” added Tracy. “And I’m just like ‘okay AT&T, don’t fail me now.'”

With Kaeden in his bedroom, and mom and dad just down the hall, he raced the number 50 car to another second place finish.

“It’s like we’re at the track,” Tracy said. We’re yelling, we’re carrying on and we’re trying to tell ourselves to be quiet because he’s in his room with his headset on, you know what I mean?”

Either way, Kaeden is focused on the task at hand.

“Most of the time I turn the volume up so loud, I can’t hear a dang thing,” Kaeden said.

Kaeden’s second place run earned him an entry to a second nationally broadcast race one week later, with NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon picking Kaeden to win the race.

This time, Kaeden even earned a sponsorship and a new green paint job.

Sporting a new look, Kaeden managed another top three finish.

“Me and dad go out in the garage and talk about it and it’s like well I outran some NASCAR drivers tonight, so I guess that’s a plus,” Kaeden said.

Already an accomplished driver, Kaeden hopes to make a career out of racing. Maybe his virtual success will be the boost he needs.

“It’s crazy to think about but real world wise, hopefully it’ll further my career,” Kaeden said.

Tracy says there are plenty of local racing fans hoping for the same.

“We have so many people reaching out to us. I get teary-eyed. The support is awesome. It is. I’m a proud mom.”

Who could blame her, with so much to be proud of

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