Stafford Springs, CT — Throughout his first three seasons of Whelen Modified Tour competition, Orchard Park, NY native Patrick Emerling’s best finish at Stafford was an 11th place finish in the 2013 NAPA Spring Sizzler. The 16 races he had competed in at Stafford prior to the 2015 season yielded one top-5 and two top-10 finishes. But that all began to change with the 2015 season as Emerling has finished each of the first three races at Stafford this season in the top-9 and he recorded his first career pole position at Stafford back in August. Emerling will be looking to continue his wave of success at Stafford when the Whelen Modified Tour cars return on Oct. 3-4 for the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend.
“We’ve gotten better at Stafford and we’re looking forward to coming back for the Fall Final,” said Emerling. “We have better cars than what we had in the past and the cars are handling much better. Another thing is where most of the drivers on the Tour have grown up on tracks like Stafford and they have tons of laps, it took us a little while to figure the track out and what our car needed.”
Emerling had high hopes for the Call Before You Dig 150 at Stafford in August after winning his first career pole position, but Emerling was only able to lead the first four laps of the race before falling back and then recovering to post a 6th place finish. Emerling says that the lessons he and his #07 Buffalo Auto Auction team learned in that race should have them prepared for not only a good qualifying effort, but an even better race finish in the NAPA Fall Final 150.
“We screwed up with our prerace adjustments in the August race at Stafford and we didn’t quite get the car right,” said Emerling. “We’re hoping we can qualify the car on pole again and keep it up front this time. Based off where we started and finished in the last race we feel like we had a better car and we were able to tune it up on our pit stop. We’ve been working on our program and I think we’ll definitely be better than we were the last time out at Stafford.”
Emerling is currently sixth in the Whelen Modified Tour points standings and he is only 7 points behind Eric Goodale, who is fifth in the standings. A good finish in the NAPA Fall Final will go a long way towards helping Emerling and the #07 team get their first career top-5 points finish.
“We historically run pretty good at Loudon, and we’ve got pretty good at Stafford and Thompson, so we should have a good showing in the last 3 races,” said Emerling. “I think we’ll have a good chance at getting the car into the top-5 at the end of the season.”
The Whelen Modified Tour cars will qualify for the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final 150 on Saturday, Oct. 3rd before hitting the track for 150 laps on Sunday, Oct. 4th. Saturday’s racing card will also feature heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions along with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, and a National Qualifying Event for the US Legend Cars divisions. Sunday’s action kicks off with the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon with the SK Modifieds® taking the green flag at 1pm followed by the Late Model and Whelen Modified Tour feature events. Tickets for the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday and ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Visit your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store for discount ticket offers.
For more information on the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com