After sweeping all four races at New York’s Lancaster National Speedway in 2016 on his way to the RoC Asphalt Modified Tour title, the luck that was on his side is now seemingly gone at the historic half-mile oval. Since the 2017 season began, Emerling has either come up just short, or he’s had a major issue. At least, that was the case before this year’s season opener.
Two months ago, Emerling got back to the top step, winning the season opener at Lancaster, and then following it up with a second-place in the second RoC race of 2018 at Lake Erie Speedway (PA). All that has given him the early points lead in the RoC standings heading to race number three, the ‘Ol Boy Cup 60 back at Lancaster.
“We’ve been as good as we can be. Lancaster went our way pretty well. Lake Erie we were very good, but Hirschman has been really good there and felt like we were really close to him, but he was ahead of us and there was no way we were going to get around him. But I was happy with that finish because Lake Erie is a place that we’ve had a lot of tough luck at,” Emerling told Speed51.com.
With his RoC Modified win total at the 5/8-mile oval now standing at six, it comes as no shock that Emerling is ready to go for this Thursday night in the 60-lap Ol’ Boy Cup.
“Lancaster is one track that I feel like we’re pretty good at. Last year we had a little bad luck there with flat tires and other stupid things going wrong. But I feel like coming into it this year and this race, we’re just ready.”
Emerling also has confidence coming off a sensational performance in Sportsman Modified competition earlier in the season as well.
“We’ve been running Sport Mods between Holland and Lancaster. We had two wins at Lancaster on a double-feature night and we had a second to Chuck Hossfeld there. It’s one place you just like to go and have a lot of fun there.”
With a shorter distance, the need for a good starting position is high for most drivers, including Emerling, who admits to being a fan of long distance races. But short races have not stopped him in the past, including this season.
“For sure with 60 laps, the starting position is going to be a little more important than the longer races. The long races I believe are a little bit better for me. I’m a long run kind of guy. But we won that race two years ago and we came through the field to win a 35-lapper at New Smyrna, so we’re ready.”
While the early hopes for a second RoC season title may seem high, Emerling’s biggest opponent is his own racing schedule, with next July’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway being a bit too close to the RoC event at Holland, NY. Emerling is not prepared to count himself out quite yet, but it will mean putting together more extraordinary performances on the remainder of the RoC schedule.
“With our plans to run Loudon on the Whelen Modified Tour, we have a conflict with RoC. Running for points wasn’t really our thing, but if we have a couple of really strong runs or wins and we get that much of a lead where we can skip a race, we’ll take it. If not, it is what it is. We’re going to go for as many wins as we can and have fun.”
Fans can watch Emerling go for the win live on Thursday night. Our cameras will be at Lancaster National Speedway to broadcast the Ol Boy Cup 60 as part of Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com