LANCASTER, N.Y. — Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. captured the Joe Reilly Sportsman Summer Slam 75 presented by A-Verdi Storage on Saturday night at Lancaster National Speedway for his fourth-straight win in the Sunoco Sportsman.
Emerling started 20th in the 26-car field after a penalty for rough-riding relegated him to a fifth place finish in his heat race.
Mark Pennell and Jeff Brown led the field to the initial green flag. Brown grabbed the early lead followed by Pennell and Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr.
Billy Burd moved up from the seventh starting position to second place following a restart on lap 10. He would be followed by Tommy Catalano, who started ninth, as Catalano slid into the third position. The trio of Brown, Burd and Catalano ran away from the field during the early stages of the race.
Burd pulled to the inside of Brown on lap 23 to make a bid for the lead. The pair battled side-by-side for a couple laps before Burd wrestled the top spot away. Brown made contact with Catalano shortly after losing the lead, which allowed Emerling to move from the fourth spot to the runner-up position.
The caution flag flew for the third time on lap 31 for a spin by Miami, Florida-native Luis Rodriguez, Jr. who was making his first career start at Lancaster. Rodriguez is a development driver for Troy Williams Racing.
Burd and Emerling took off from the pack following the restart on lap 34. Emerling pressured Burd around the track during the midway portion of the event, but could not overtake Burd for the lead. The yellow flag came out for the final time on lap 55 for a crash by Kevin Miller on the front straightaway.
On the ensuing restart Emerling dropped to the inside of Burd going into turn one and passed him for the lead. Emerling completed the pass as his car slid up the track in front of Burd.
Emerling held on for the final 20 laps to capture the longest race of the season for Sunoco Sportsman. It was his fourth win of the season in the Sportsman and his fifth win overall this year at Lancaster. Burd had to settle for second, followed by Catalano, Brown and George Skora III.
“I never thought we’d get by the Burd man,” said Emerling in victory lane. “We just have so much fan racing at Lancaster.”
The race was run in memory of Thompson Racing crew chief, Joe Reilly, who passed away shortly before the 2016 season started. The Reilly and Thompson families collected over $3,200 in lap and bonus money for the Summer Slam 75.
Terry Weldy captured the Advance Auto Parts Street Stock feature, driving in a relief role for Heather Weber. Weldy passed Dave Wilson with three laps to go for his first win of the season. Wilson had to settle for second. Ken Maltby led the first 15 laps of the race from the pole, but finished third. Keith Flanigan and Tommy Wentland rounded out the top five.
Kevin Bainbridge was awarded the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder feature win after the unofficial winner was disqualified in post-race inspection. That gives Bainbridge four wins for the 2016 season. Joe Brunka was credited with second. Rich Bartel, Chris Pennell and Tim Durfy completed the top five.
A.J. Hessler of Tonawanda, N.Y. survived a late-race restart with four laps to go to win the NYPA TQ Midget feature. Hessler led every lap of the 20-lap feature, but he had to hold off Dave Wollaber and Bobby Holmes in the closing moments to secure the win. Vinny Christiano, Jr. and Andy Jankowiak rounded out the top five.
Racing continues at Lancaster National Speed on Saturday, June 25 with the Jeff Brown, Sr. Memorial 25 for the Street Stocks presented by Wilson Crane Service. The Sunoco Sportsman, Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders and NY Super Stock Series will also be in action. Racing starts at 6:30 p.m.
-Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Joe Grabianowski