Patrick Emerling entered the Last Great Colosseum with the strongest weapons in a stout NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour field. Emerling led 148 of 150 laps in the Bush’s Beans 150 to score the first win of his career in this series at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Emerling, the defending Race of Champions (RoC) Asphalt Modified Series champion, was forced to fend off charges from Justin Bonsignore, Chase Dowling and four-time NWMT champion Doug Coby to score the first NWMT victory of his career.
Coby was able to make one attempt at the lead as Emerling tried to put Wade Cole a lap down. Emerling got held up behind Cole’s No. 33 and that allowed Coby to dive to Emerling’s inside. Coby gave Emerling a shot into turn one, but Emerling was able to fend off the multi-time champion.
“This feels awesome,” Emerling said in victory lane. “This is incredible. We unloaded with a fast car and we took full advantage of it. There’s other times when we’ve had fast race cars and we didn’t capitalize. This is just awesome.”
After Coby’s attempt at the lead failed, Coby was unable to mount another charge at Emerling. Emerling beat Coby to the checkered flag by 1.2 seconds.
“He got into my left rear a bit,” Emerling stated. “If he would have gotten to my door he would have gotten the position. We would have been stuck on the outside. There were a couple of times that I got squirrely in the speedy dry and dealing with lapped cars. He got to me, but I was able to out-battle him.”
“I had something for him up until about 10 to go,” Coby told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I was trying real hard and he was getting a little tight off of two. I was good off of two so I was gaining on him then. But he just didn’t get tighter. Usually here when someone starts to get a little snug they keep getting tighter and he didn’t. I think that if we got by him we could have driven away from him, but he did what he had to do and protected his turf. He led this whole race, and good for him. It’s his first career win and it’s the biggest stage that we’re on and it’s a race we all want to win.”
Coby, Justin Bonsignore, Chase Dowling and Ryan Preece completed the top five.
Timmy Solomito entered Wednesday’s race just 10 points ahead of Rowan Pennink for the series points lead. Solomito was caught up in a mid-race crash with Bobby Santos in turn four. Solomito’s crew thrashed to get his car fixed to make sure they turned as many laps as possible.
Solomito was able to come back to finish 15th, 38 laps down. Pennink finished Wednesday’s race in the seventh position. Pennink unofficially now trails Solomito by just two points. Ryan Preece, after missing the May 13th race at Langley Speedway (VA), is nine points behind Solomito in third.
But up front, it was all Patrick Emerling who scored the biggest win of his life.
“To win Bristol, it takes the words right out of your mouth,” Emerling explained. “It’s definitely our best win ever. To finally get a win on the Whelen Tour, it’s just a dream come true.”
For an on-demand replay of Wednesday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Spafco Race Chassis and Parts and PFC Brakes, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from Wednesday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race including video interviews with Emerling, Coby and Solomito still to come on the Speed51 Video Network.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
NWMT Bush’s Beans 150
Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee
|9||77||Bobby Santos III|
|14||78||Walter Sutcliffe Jr.|