The Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour issued a penalty to defending series champion Patrick Emerling for an unapproved tire change in Saturday’s race at Jennerstown Speedway (PA). The penalty unofficially reduces Emerling’s point lead to just five points over George Skora.
(Editor’s Note: In the original story published on Speed51.com, we claimed that Emerling lost the points lead due to the penalty. That was incorrect. Emerling maintains the points lead by a five-point margin.)
The series penalized Emerling and his team 26 championship points and fined them $1,650 for the unapproved tire change.
Emerling said he could feel his car acting strange during the course of the race leading up to their pit stop during the lap-72 caution period. After changing the right-rear tire, Emerling raced back through the field to finish second behind race winner Matt Hirschman.
“The car was reacting funny there and we knew something was up,” Emerling explained to Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We pitted and checked the suspension and everything and noticed our tire was going down. It was about five pounds too short. So we threw on another tire. We argued with the series and the series said that there was sufficient air in the tire at the time. It is what it is. We’ll move forward.”
“We had an official present and he was able to check the tire at the time it was taken off the car,” said series promoter Joe Skotnicki.
Prior to the penalty, Emerling was leading the points standings by 31 over George Skora with a total of 463. As a result of the penalty, he now unofficially sits just five points ahead of Skora.
When Emerling was asked if he still believed, even with the benefit of hindsight, that changing the tire was the right move, he said he still did.
“It was definitely low compared to what it normally would be at hot pressure. There was probably sufficient air in it for it to run, but compared to what we do it was a little bit short. In hindsight it’s just a tough deal. That’s really it.”
The next race for the series will be the Ole Boy Cup III at the Lancaster National Speedway in New York on June 29.
Race fans can watch the Ole Boy Cup III as part of Speed51.com’s Summer Thunder TV series. The Summer Thunder TV series is available as a bonus to all premium members of Speed51.com. Fans can become a premium member for as little as $7.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Mojo Photos