Patient and smooth is how Jonathan Cornell describes his racing style, and it’s gotten him dozens of wins and multiple championships over the years.
The 25-year-old Sedalia native said his father, Jon, got him into racing motorcycles when he was about 7-years-old. Jonathan now races his 360 Sprint Car regularly at Double-X Speedway in California.
“I started racing motorcycles and went to go carts and micro midgets and full size sprint cars,” Jonathan said.
He has been visiting victory lane ever since he started racing 360 Sprint Cars in 2005. Jonathan said he stepped in for an injured driver at LA Raceway in La Monte and won the race in his first Sprint Car event.
“I’ve always wanted to race Sprint Cars since I was a little kid,” Jonathan said. “That was one of my dreams. My parents got me into racing and they saw I had some talent and just kept perusing it and kept moving me onto the next level.”
Jonathan has eight wins at Double-X this season and has clinched the point’s title with one race remaining.
He is second in the ASCS Warrior Region standings with six races remaining. He’s won the championship the past two seasons.
“So there’s a good chance we could make it three years in a row,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan’s non-Double-X wins for that series were at Callaway Raceway in Fulton and Randolph County Raceway in Moberly.
Jonathan has 12 wins this season and three of them came as part of the Red, White and Blue Tour.
From July 3 through July 6, Jonathan won at Double-X Speedway twice and Callaway Raceway once. The July 5 race at Randolph County Raceway was rained out.
Jonathan said there are even busier times during the season.
“There’s been times where we’ve ran six races in eight days, so that keeps us really busy,” he said.
But for the most part racing is just a weekend event for Jonathan. He and his father run Sure Coat in Sedalia. His crew chief Chad Cypert also helps with the business.
“He’s actually from the state of California, but racing brought him out here and he worked for a couple of other people I competed against,” Jonathan said. “We became friends and he eventually joined our team.”
This week the team trekked up north more than 200 miles for the 24th Annual 360 Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa.
Jonathan was seventh in the points, which determine Saturday’s feature lineup, after Thursday’s qualifying day.
The other half of the entries qualified Friday night. There were about 100 entries from coast to coast and 20 compete in Saturday’s feature event.
“This would be the biggest race of the year for us,” Jonathan said.
He said he’s raced at Knoxville for at least four years, and finished 12th in the 360 National event last year.
Since Jonathan has already clinched the Double-X point’s title, he will not race there Sunday so he can compete in the Front Row Challenge at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa on Monday.
Jonathan said he may eventually move up a 410 Sprint Car, but it will take more finances.
“There’s isn’t very many places around here to race them so you’d have to travel quite a bit,” he said.
Jonathan does have sponsor support, but he said he’d need more to move up a class.
Kiowa Line Builders, Starline Brass, Yeager’s Harley Davidson, Peak Performance and Smith Signs are Jonathan’s main sponsors for his No. 28 machine.
“I’d like to move up the ladder in the Sprint Car world and maybe compete with the ASCS National Tour or the World of Outlaws,” Jonathan said.
For now, Jonathan and his crew will continue to put in hours and hours into the 360 Sprint Car.
“It’s basically like a full time job,” Jonathan said. “Chad helps us out at our powder coat shop, and then he goes out to the race shop. We’ll start working from seven or eight in the morning and sometimes we don’t get done until 11 at night.”