Little Gator races with big focus

Noah Cornman races Bandolero racecares, which go approximately 75 mph.
Noah Cornman races Bandolero racecares, which go approximately 75 mph.
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Noah Cornman, 11, is competing in a 10-week racing competition in Charlotte, N.C., to help hone his skills.

PALM COAST — If you didn’t know Noah Cornman personally, all you’d have to do is take a tour of his garage and a gander into his bedroom, and you would realize that the 11-year-old Palm Coaster is an avid racecar fan and competitive racecar driver.

Parked outside the house is a large trailer — used to transport his racecar — with his picture and name plastered all over it.

Peek in his garage and you’ll find two Bandolero cars, so many tires you’d think it’s a Goodyear store and a plethora of tools.

Walk through his room and there’s a bunk bed, but only the top portion is intact.

Underneath are NASCAR model cars and trophies from his go-kart racing days. Lined up against his wall are more trophies — some taller than him. After all, one of his hobbies is collecting trophies.

From go-karts to Bandoleros
Noah, whose nickname is the “Little Gator,” began racing go-karts at 6 years old after he visited the Volusia Motor Speedway and fell in love with the idea of driving fast.

After two years and a few crashes while driving go-karts, Noah switched to a Bandolero car — essentially a mini racecar.

“It feels better being in a car and it’s more safe,” Noah said. “You don’t feel anything when you hit the wall.”

The Bandolero car tops out around 75 mph, and Noah’s crew chief is his father, Scott.

“I like (having my dad as crew chief) because we tried another person and it just didn’t feel right,” Noah said.

Contrary to popular belief, however, the Little Gator doesn’t just enjoy driving racecars because he can go fast.

“I like passing people and strategy,” he said.

So far this year, Noah has won five races.

Headed north
With aspirations of driving professionally one day, Noah and his family have ventured north to Charlotte, N.C., for a 10-week tournament, the Summer Shootout, which takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 2.5 months is dedicated to a lot of practice, as well as at least one race each week. Points are tallied throughout the summer, and then winners are announced after the 10 weeks.

Last year, Noah spent five weeks at the Summer Shootout.

Noah, who receives his education through one of his sponsors, Florida Virtual School, doesn’t plan on wasting any time with his career, either.

By the time he’s 18, Noah hopes to be on national TV, racing in NASCAR, and hopefully winning the Daytona 500, something his favorite driver, Mark Martin, has yet to do.

Contact Andrew O’Brien at [email protected].


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