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Fast Talk: A Few Minutes With Super Pro Champion Jeff Cornick

Fast Talk: A few minutes with Super Pro champion Jeff Cornick

Like so many Rocky Mountain Raceways regulars, Jeff Cornick, 35, learned about racing from a very early age. His father, Rick, raced and worked at the old Bonneville Raceway and young Jeff soon found an extended family around the drag strip. Although he forged some lasting friendships in those days, Jeff didn’t actually climb behind the wheel of a racer until 2010. Since then he has seen plenty of success, highlighted of course, in 2015 when he won the Super Pro championship in his familiar-looking dragster, Red Baron. Jeff recently had a conversation with RMR Marketing Communications Director Jim Burton.

When did you start drag racing at Rocky Mountain Raceways; and when did you begin competing in Super Pro?

We started the Super Pro deal in 2013. I started racing out there in the middle of 2010. Dad and I got into a Nova. It was IHRA and we were running Pro and No-Box then. In 2011 we actually finished third place in Pro and last year we were IHRA. We got this dragster for 2012, which we ran it in Pro and then I converted the car and went Super Pro racing in 2013. The only reason I remember all those dates is because my dad passed away in February 2013 and he never got the chance to see it run in Super Pro. That helps me put my timeline together.Cornick

Was your dad involved pretty heavily on the racing side?

Back in the 70s he was a many-time Stock Eliminator champion at the old Bonneville Raceway and in the early 90s, when the Eames family was running Bonneville, he worked as a tech guy out there and I actually – back when I was 12-13 years old – I worked in the old ET shack writing out time slips by hand and whatnot. We were away from the sport towards the end of Bonneville. My dad hadn’t been to a race until 2008 or 2009, when I took him to Vegas to the national event as kind of a surprise and got him hooked back into (racing). We had always done street rods and hot rods but that had kind of started to get old, so I think he was looking for something else to do.

You and RMR General Manager Mike Eames have been good friends for many years, that probably goes back to when you were in your early teens, right?

Oh even before that because we knew each other from the street rod world. I’ve been around the Eames family since I was 5 or 6 years old. I’m 35 now, so it’s been at least 30 years.  Back then I was the little kid trying to keep up and trying to hang around. The older kids, they’d tease me and stuff, but we had a good time with it. My friends have always been older, but that’s what I was always around. I was around car show people and racing people. To me, that helped my growth; I just knew how to be around adults.

What was it like to work around the track and the drag strip, and working around cars?

To me it was great because I’ve always seen the car community – whether it be hot rods or racing – as a big extended family. Everywhere you turned you had somebody there to help you, guide you and answer questions. It always felt like even if I wasn’t around my dad I always felt like I had extra dads and brothers around. As an only child, it was a big extension of a family that I didn’t really have. My parents got divorced when I was 8 years old, but being around racing it always felt like wherever I turned I always had somebody I could go to. My dad was my best friend, no ifs, ands or buts about it. We did everything together, and that was great too. We were able to share all those experiences together. I just hope that with my little boy (Ricky), if he decides to be around cars and stuff, we can do the same thing.

How old is your little boy?

He’s 4, he’ll be 5 this year. Then begins the discussion of how early is too early to put him in a junior dragster. I had to restrain myself from buying him one for Christmas.  I’ve always said that he’s going to have to come to me and say, “Dad, I want to do this.” I’m not going to buy a car and force him into it. If he sees them and he decides that’s what he wants to do, then we’ll go racing. If not, there’s going to be no pressure at all, I’d rather he play baseball and football and soccer and everything else. I know too many kids that have been, in my mind, forced to be out there racing, and a lot of them would rather be doing other things.

What did it mean for you to win the championship in Super Pro?

It was the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of long nights. It felt like it was kind of one of the last things I could give my dad, even though he wasn’t around to enjoy it. There’s still one thing, I still need a Wally. With the double Heritage race and if I can get the money together and try the March Meet again, one way or another we’re gonna get one of those damn things. When we got racing, dad’s thing was, “We race as long as it’s fun. When it stops being fun, we stop doing it.” (In 2015) it was fun all the way through, and obviously the success did that, but I had a great time. At the ET finals in Boise, we got to know some of the drivers we didn’t know as well and we kind of came together as a team. The year was just a really fun year, even if I hadn’t won the championship I felt like I had a lot of fun.

2016 Track Schedules Have Been Released!

20th Anniversary RMR

Below are the Tentative 2016 Track Schedules.

Please keep in mind that while we do not anticipate anything changing, sometime changes do have to be made. We will always keep these schedules up to date so check back often for the current version.

Click on the appropriate track below to access the schedule.

2016 MX Track Schedule – Updated 1/12/16

2016 Drag Strip Schedule – Updated 2/23/16

2016 Oval Track Schedule

 

 

RMR collects more than 8,000 pairs of socks to help Salt Lake’s homeless population

RMR collects more than 8,000 pairs of socks to help Salt Lake’s homeless population

By Jim Burton

Rocky Mountain Raceways

WEST VALLEY CITY — As he sat at his gate inside the Salt Lake International Airport in early November, awaiting a flight to Pomona, Calif. and the Auto Club NHRA finals, Rocky Mountain Raceways’ General Manager Mike Eames got hit with a bit of inspiration.

A morning news show was playing on a nearby television and the topic of conversation was winter weather and how it effects the homeless population.

Eames said he heard the show’s hosts mention the usual wintertime necessities: coats, shoes, hats, blankets, etc.

And then he heard something that caught his attention.

“I heard someone say something about socks and how that’s a big need this time of year,” Eames said. “It immediately got me thinking about what Rocky Mountain Raceways could do to help.”

Those who know him know Eames’ mind often races faster than a top fuel dragster, and on this particular occasion he couldn’t stop thinking about those socks and what RMR could do to help people in need.

He quickly came across an idea whereby RMR could collect new packages of socks for men, women and children. All it would take would be to trade socks for tickets to 2016 events.

“I started thinking about what we could call it,” Eames said as he excitedly told the story. “I kept thinking, ‘Socks, socks, socks … how do you link socks to racing?’ I was literally standing in line, waiting to get on an airplane, and then it hit me: ‘Speed For Socks!’” IMG_3354

Eames fired off an email to the staff at RMR and before his plane touched down in California, the “Speed For Socks” campaign was off and running.

A plan of attack was devised and a logo was drawn up.IMG_3329

The initial goal was to collect 1,000 pairs of socks and distribute them at some of the shelters in the Salt Lake City area. That initial goal was met just after Thanksgiving and the total just kept climbing and climbing as RMR’s fans, its racers and their extended friends and families continued to pitch in, day after day.

Receptionist Sherie Echols collected the socks, handed out the free tickets and dutifully kept track of the running total. After five weeks a total of 8,085 pairs of socks had been collected and well over 4,000 tickets were given out.
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In keeping with the plan, the socks were stored in a trailer in RMR’s conference center. They were sorted, boxed up and prepared for distribution on
Dec. 21, with stops planned for The Christmas Box House, Homeless Youth Resource Center and The Road Home.

IMG_3348Each stop along the route, grateful people expressed heartfelt thanks for the contributions and assured RMR staff members the socks would most definitely be used by those in need.

Lots of season’s greetings were exchanged.

“We are thrilled to play a small part in the community that will hopefully make a big difference,” Eames said.

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