After a number of promising appearances at New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the past few seasons, Patrick Emerling returned home to Orchard Park, New York late Saturday with trophy in hand at last from “The Magic Mile” after winning the Whelen All-Star Shootout last Friday. Despite a crash in Saturday’s Eastern Propane & Oil 100, Emerling proved he could’ve swept the weekend under different circumstances.
Even with the mood of Friday’s celebration muted by the time he and the No. 07 team returned home, the confidence they have gained is still very high heading into the latter half on 2019.
“It was great to get that win on Friday but we were pretty bummed out from Saturday, we think we had the car to beat then too,” Emerling told Speed51. “But, it was nice to show them that we could be the class of the field the whole weekend, and I think we truly were. Except for the wreck, we were in contention to win, and it feels pretty good.”
Now the 2016 Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series champion is set to return to familiar territory this Friday night at Spencer Speedway in Williamson, New York for the next round of the 2019 RoC Modified Series. Despite the mechanical wounds of New Hampshire, they are already set to go.
“The RoC we run a different car from the Tour, we’ve got the built motor for RoC versus the spec for the Tour. We don’t have any change over to do, we’re looking forward to how it will run at Spencer. We won the last race there, so we’re looking to continue that.”
New Hampshire is one of the most unique track in all of Modified racing, requiring a certain driving style compared to most other race tracks, even half-mile ovals like Spencer. But, given Emerling’s experience at Spencer, winning three of the last four RoC events, he does not see it as problem.
“We’ve been to a whole lot of different race tracks, Loudon is one of our favorite tracks to run admittedly. But, Spencer is a good track for us to. It’s a pretty technical track and there’s few tricks to running there that we know about that gives us an edge on our competition. Between Mike (Leaty) and I, we’ve got a great record there.”
As for Emerling’s teammate Mike Leaty, he and the No. 25 team have not enjoyed the same good fortune as the 07 camp in the 2019 RoC Series. Emerling is not pinning it on a lack of performance, knowing that he will have to continue to watch his back for his teammate on Friday. Overall, he feels that the Jan Leaty led operation is as strong as ever.
“Mike’s just had terrible luck this year,” Emerling said. “He’s shown up with fast race cars, is fastest in practice, we both set our cars setup differently, but we’ve both been strong. I’m sure he’ll get it figured out and have his day. But, as a team we’re very strong right now.”
To start the season, Emerling and the No. 07 crew skipped over the first outing at Chemung Speedrome (NY), but came out of the gate with a win at Spencer in late May. Currently sitting fourth in points behind Andy Jankowiak, Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers respectively, there is still some championship hope with six races remaining. The plan: just keep going after those race wins.
“We’re just going to go for wins these next few races and just go from there. If we find ourselves late in the season in the points battle, we’ll go about that accordingly.”
Race fans from all across the map can watch Friday’s 100-lap RoC Modified feature at Spencer Speedway live on Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV presented by PFC Brakes. Click here to become a monthly or yearly subscriber today.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo