- Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 23:02
- Published on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 23:02
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Speed and beating the competition has become her trademark. After three years of competitive kart racing, 10-year-old King George resident Cori French has decided to switch gears to take the wheel in the highly competitive Bandolero racing circuit.
The Sealston fourth-grader’s resume speaks volumes for her ability to drive a car that is capable of reaching speeds up to 90 miles per hour unrestricted.
Getting accustomed to a new and faster vehicle has been somewhat cumbersome for Cori, but she is quickly adapting with the same enthusiasm it took to dominate rival racers in her go-kart.
"Going from a go-kart to a larger, boxed-in car is a big difference,” Cori said. “In the Bandolero everything feels like it’s bigger, while the go-kart everything looks normal, because I am used to it.”
She has competitively raced at eight racing venues, compiling 38 victories in the last three years. Among her wins included two championships (2009 King George Speedway Series Champion, 2008-2009 King George Speedway Winter Series Champion) and 126 top five finishes.
Cori also had second and third place finishes on a dirt oval track at Capital City Speedway in Ashland, Va.
All Bandolero cars are required to use restrictor plates at Cori’s current racing venue, Old Dominion Speedway (ODS), in Manassas, Va. The restrictor plates limit the vehicle’s speed to 70 miles per hour. Bandolero drivers have additional safety requirements. All Bandolero drivers must use a head and neck restraint apparatus. Cori uses the Hybrid Pro device, which was created by Safety Solutions, Inc. The device limits the driver’s head from moving too far in any direction in an accident. Unlike go-karts, arm restraints are no longer a requirement.
After hearing about Cori’s success on track, which includes two third place and four second place finishes in six races at Old Dominion Kart Series (ODKS), ODKS promoter Mike Diaz approached Cori and her father, Scot, with a career-changing proposition.
“He said he was looking for a good driver and Cori’s name had come up, and now that he’s seen her race, he believed she would be a good fit for his team,” Scot said.
The five-member racing team known as TSS Motorsports consists of Mason Diaz, Cori French, Jacob Leverstein, Trevor Collins and D.J. Powell.
Cori’s new racing crew, features: Mike Diaz (owner), Janet Diaz, Trinity Diaz, Bob Mullens, Alan Collins, Jack Leverstein and Scot French.
The sponsor for Cori’s new car is The Sign Shop, LLC in Woodbridge, Va.
Cori has committed to racing in 14 Bandolero races at ODS, and two races out of the area — at Orange County Speedway, Rougemont, N.C., and Lowe’s Motor Speedway Summer Shootout, Charlotte, N.C. Outside of her current schedule, she has the option of racing at any ODKS-sponsored event.
Cori has also spoken on the web television show Lets Talk Racing in a telephone interview. She spoke with host Matt Mullins, the promoter for Hampton Roads Kart Club at Langley Speedway, about her racing endeavors. Also, while on the show, she had the rare opportunity to interview NASCAR racing legend, Kyle Petty.
The talents of Cori extend beyond the racetrack and into the classroom. Most recently, she was inducted into the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS). Her parents believe that education is paramount to anything she does.
“We feel that education is important, and if her grades start to fail, then she needs to spend more time studying than racing” Scot said.
When she’s not racing, Cori is a proven athlete. During the Fun Run race at Sealston Elementary, she place third among female runners. After that event, she became a member of the Sealston Running Club.
Apart from being a model citizen among her peers at school, she also finds to time to sing in the Sealston Elementary School Chorus, participate in NEHS activities and is a Junior Girl Scout.
As for go-kart racing, Cori has not abandoned her first passion for racing. After some minor maintenance is completed on her vehicle, she has already made room in her busy schedule to return to go-kart competition with her familiar Larry Hills and Sons Excavating-sponsored Junior Sportsman Champ Go-Kart.
Leonard M. Banks