WELLSBORO - Adam Cornell is a racing champion at age 13.
The Don Gill Elementary School seventh-grade student has been racing go-karts or "karts" as they are called in the sport, since he was 6 years old. He has amassed more than 130 trophies in 63 feature races, two oval dirt track championships and three World Karting Association divisional racing championships.
Cornell said he has raced in about 200 races since age 6, but, in 2013, he won the biggest of them all - the National World Karting Association's Gold Cup in the Sportsmen 2 Lite category for most points accumulated in five races around the country.
Cornell was honored Jan. 31 with a citation of recognition from the state House of Representatives, presented to him by state Rep. Matt Baker, R-Wellsboro, in front of his family, friends and classmates at the Tokishi Center.
"Adam is truly deserving of recognition and praise for utilizing his exceptional ability with diligence and for his tenacious pursuit of excellence," the citation read.
Cornell, the only child of Hugh and Joyce Cornell, said his father used to race in his younger years, and that is how he got into it.
He said of all the races he has participated in, he only has had two serious crashes, and his injuries were minor.
He also won the Maryland Divisional Sprint series last year and was honored at a banquet recently.
Cornell said his next goal is to race in the Rolex Cup at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
"I want to race Grand Am, because you can race all different kinds of cars and you're not limited to one kind or another, like in NASCAR or Trans Am," he said.
According to its website, the World Karting Association is a membership-owned, non-profit corporation formed in 1971 to regulate and promote the sport of competitive kart racing.
"We establish the rules and procedures to set standards by which to sanction tracks and to conduct annual championships for various types of karting," the site states.
WKA has grown to more than 10,000 active members and 120 sanctioned tracks nationwide to make it the largest sanctioning body for kart racing in the United States and one of the largest in the world.
Kart racing is available for just about any age with different classes, according to Wikipedia.
Five- to 7-year-olds can enter in karts that top out at about 30 mph; 7- to 11-year-olds go a step up with karts reaching speeds of about 50 mph; and 12- to 15-year-olds race full-sized karts with 100cc to 125cc engines that will reach about 78 mph.
There are several types of races, but Cornell likes the sprint class, which generally is 1/3-mile to 1 mile in length and take about 10 to 20 minutes to complete.
Courses can be dirt or road tracks.
Many people associate the activity with young drivers, but adults also are very active in karting. Karting is considered the first step in any serious racer's career, preparing the driver for high-speed, wheel-to-wheel racing by helping develop quick reflexes, precision car control and fast decision-making skills.
Karting also brings an awareness of the various parameters that can be altered to try to improve the competitiveness of the kart including tire pressure, gearing, seat position and chassis stiffness that also exist in other forms of motor racing.
Racers wear a full-face helmet and fire retardant jumpsuit and gloves, much like those that NASCAR and Indy 500 racers wear.
Cornell's father said he puts about $30,000 per year into keeping his son's kart in top shape, as well as entering races, traveling from race to race and hauling the vehicle with them in a trailer.
With about $5,000 per year in sponsors from two Wellsboro racing enthusiasts - businessmen Chris Kozohuski, owner of the Wellsboro House Restaurant, and Bob Cunningham, owner of Land Services Group - the family still needs to raise the remaining $25,000 for Adam to continue with his passion.
"The credit cards are maxed out and we have spent all we have," said Hugh, owner of Built Right Wood Crafters, of Knoxville.
Cornell's mother is a registered nurse at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital.
Though she worries about injuries, she said her son has gained a lot from his experience in karting.
"He has a broader world perspective and has met all kinds of people and traveled around the country," she said.
"He wins races against kids that spend $150,000 to $200,000 a year," Cornell said.
For more information or to sponsor Cornell, visit his racing page on Facebook. Search for Adam Cornell Racing.