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

 

 

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series Returns in 2016 with a Double Header

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series 2016 schedule

10/21/2015

NHRA officials announced the 2016 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series schedule, headlined by the Nostalgia Top Fuel and Nostalgia Funny Car categories.

Entering its ninth season, the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series features Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars, and has become a fan-favorite among drag racing enthusiasts with classes for front-engined dragsters, altereds, and gassers.

The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series consists of two nitro categories — Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster and Nostalgia Funny Car — and two groups of additional classes. Group 1 includes A/Fuel, Jr. Fuel, and 7.0 Eliminator, and Group 2 includes Nostalgia Eliminator I, Nostalgia Eliminator II, Nostalgia Eliminator III, A/Gas, B/Gas, C/Gas, D/Gas, and Hot Rod eliminator. Racers in each class will run a combination of events at which they will score points toward the championships.

The season opens with a new event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Jan. 16-17, for Groups 1 and 2, followed by the famed Good Vibrations March Meet and the kick off for the Nostalgia Top Fuel and Funny Cars, March 4-6 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., and the Nostalgia Reunion at Sacramento (Calif.) Raceway in early April. The series then heads north for the first of two stops at Firebird Raceway in Boise, Idaho, the NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor.

The series benefits the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California through a pair of Hot Rod Reunions that are produced by the Museum. The Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky., is the first on the schedule, slated for June 16-18, and will be followed by the popular California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California that will celebrate its 25th Anniversary event and will conclude the series, Oct. 21-23, at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield.

“The NHRA Motorsports Museum is proud once again to have our Hot Rod Reunions be a part of the NHRA Heritage Series,” said Larry Fisher, executive director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. “The Hot Rod Reunions and the Heritage Series are just one of the ways that the NHRA Motorsports Museum and NHRA work with you to preserve and celebrate the story of American Hot Rodding. By being a part of the Reunions, racers and spectators alike help us share this uniquely American story with future generations.”

The series returns to Rocky Mountain Raceways with a doubleheader weekend in early June with two separate events for racers in Groups 1 and 2 along with Funny Car action on Friday and Saturday. A Funny Car only event returns to Mission Raceway Park in July for its fourth year on the schedule before the series heads back to Firebird for its traditional Nightfire Nationals event that features both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories in August. Group 2 classes then end their season at the Nostalgia Fall Championship at Auto Club Famoso in September.

The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series was developed in 2008 to help preserve NHRA’s rich history and tradition while providing racing opportunities for those enthusiasts who enjoy nostalgia drag racing competition.

2016 NHRA HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES SCHEDULE
Event Location Date Classes
Heritage Series Opener Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Jan. 16-17 Groups 1&2
Good Vibrations March Meet Auto Club Famoso Mar. 4-6 TF/FC/Groups 1&2
Nostalgia Reunion Sacramento Raceway April 1-3 Groups 1&2
NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor Firebird Raceway April 29-May 1 FC
Summer Kick-Off Rocky Mountain Raceways June 10 FC/Group 1&2
June 11 Group 1&2
Holley National Hot Rod Reunion Beech Bend Raceway June 16-18 TF
NHRA National Open Mission Raceway Park July 23-24 FC
Pepsi Nightfire Nationals Firebird Raceway Aug. 11-14 TF/FC
Nostalgia Fall Championships Auto Club Famoso Sept. 17-18 Group 2
California Hot Rod Reunion Auto Club Famoso Oct. 21-23 TF/FC

Classes Key
TF – Nostalgia Top Fuel
FC – Nostalgia Funny Car
Group 1 – A/Fuel, Jr. Fuel, 7.0 Eliminator
Group 2 – NE 1, NE 2, NE 3, A/Gas, B/Gas, C/Gas, D/Gas, Hot Rod

Schedule subject to change

Story NHRA Hot Rod Heritage website. Click here for even more: http://www.nhrahotrodheritage.com/index.html