In its first full season back in operation last season, Jukasa Motor Speedway (ON) held the distinct honor of welcoming Tour-type Modified racing back to Canada, with a tremendous showing by the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series, which saw 2016 RoC Series champion Patrick Emerling taking the checkered flag.
Now the RoC Modifieds and the ISMA Supermodifieds are both headed back to the Lake Erie’s North Shore for more in 2019, with the second running of Jukasa’s Modified Mania.
Emerling’s excitement of going back north of the border should come as no surprise, but not merely based on his win one year prior.
“Absolutely, it’s an awesome track that kind of suits us because we’re kind of used to the real fast tracks like that, running on the Whelen Tour. I think that’s a little bit of an advantage that we might have over some of the other guys,” Emerling told Speed51.
The Orchard Park, NY driver hailed the tremendous condition of the racing surface following the Great Canadian 100 race in 2018, and is ready to get on the black top again this coming Saturday. But, with the surface enduring another full Canadian winter since its repave in 2017, drivers might experience a few different characteristics this time around.
“It’s fast, it’s very smooth, so smooth that it doesn’t even feel like you are going as fast as you are. But, we might have to see going back there, it gets very cold up in the ‘Great White North’ over the winter. That might change it a little bit, but that’s not changing our plans.”
Despite having the 2018 race winner’s trophy from Jukasa for a full year now, Emerling is still counting his lucky stars that he was able to bring it back to New York; with his well-handling car experiencing a miss in the engine when the green flag fell.
“It was an awesome race. We had a good-handling racecar, but we had motor issues, it was laying down really bad. We could make up in the corners, but once I got on the throttle we’d loose a car length coming out of the corner, it was bogging so badly.”
Running second most the running to teammate Mike Leaty, Emerling was able to maintain his position and stay in the fight for the lead with the help of yellow flags. On the final restart, Emerling saw one last bit of luck fall his way.
“I just going to be happy to finish second and it would’ve been sweet to see Mike win. Then there was that last restart where Mike spun the tires and we were able to get ahead and hold them off. It was just one of those races where we weren’t expecting to win, but got a little lucky.”
For the 2019 RoC season, Emerling is once again running a majority schedule, already scoring a victory on May 31 at Spencer Speedway (NY). With points out of the picture, Emerling is focused on victories, with the Jan Leaty led team also focused on building towards a quicker future on track.
“We’ve been trying a few things to try and step up our game and this year we see kind of as a building year, getting into some new things and processes to help the cars go fast. You know how it goes, some things help and some things don’t. But ultimately you learn and that’s the goal. So sometimes we’ve been good and other times we struggle, most of the time we’ve stepped up our game for sure.”
The reason for the building year, the tight competition on RoC, along with the continued improvement of a number of teams and drivers. With such competition, Emerling knows that going for two-straight at Jukasa won’t be an easy feat. At the same, he knows that the No. 07 team has the same winning potential it has had the last couple of years.
“Everyone has been working to get faster and it’s shown. But, so are we; that’s how it goes. It’s about keeping up with the times. I’m pretty confident that we’re going to show up and have a really good car again there, just hope we can run without the problems we had last year.”
Race fans both north and south of the border can see Jukasa Modified Mania live on Speed51 Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes this Saturday night; featuring the ISMA Supermodified Queenston Chevrolet 50, and the Great Canadian 100 for the RoC Asphalt Modified Series.
Broadcast is free for Speed51 premium subscribers starting at just $9.99 for a monthly subscription, and also the yearly subscription for $79.99. You’ll get access to all future broadcasts of Summer Thunder, plus highlights, interviews, and much more on-demand through the Speed51 Network. Click here to join today.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51