Robbie Emory enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, picking up the first three wins of his career in the Fast United Engine Late Model (FUEL) Racing Series. That success carried him to the series championship, beating out Shaun Harrell by 52 points.
Emory took an early lead in the FUEL Racing Series championship on the basis of consistency, scoring podium finishes in four of the first five events of the season. A mid-season surge pushed Emory to the winner’s circle, and ultimately to the title.
For Emory, the pride of winning that championship was made greater by the people who helped him win it. Emory and his family all work together to field his racing team, going against bigger teams every weekend.
“It was a big deal,” Emory told Speed51.com about the championship. “Just being able to be the team that we are, that we don’t have a lot of crew members. It’s pretty much just me, my dad, and my mom, my brother, to go against some of those teams out there. They’ve got it going on. To prove we could do it on our own and have our own motors and stuff, it’s a pretty big deal.”
In late June, Emory collected his first victory of the season, but didn’t get to enjoy a trip to victory lane. Ben Watkins took the checkered flag first that evening at Carolina Speedway (NC), but was disqualified for using non-conforming fuel.
Emory earned his first “real” trip to victory lane just one race later at Cherokee Speedway (SC), and would go on to the win the next FUEL race at 311 Motor Speedway (NC).
“The first one, it was like, we’ll take it, but damn, we really didn’t want it that way,” Emory said about the Carolina Speedway win. “That whole next week, we were like, we’ve got to go out here and win something. If we don’t, everybody’s going to be like, ‘Oh, you got a gift, that’s the only way you can win.’
“To be able to go to Cherokee and, being from Delaware, you hear about these tracks and the Blue-Gray race at Cherokee and stuff like that,” Emory continued. “To be able to win there and win at 311 in the fashion that we did was pretty darn amazing.”
The Emory team travels to each race from Milton, Delaware, sometimes covering more than 500 miles to get to the next race on the FUEL Racing Series schedule. Between races, their work at a local automotive business is their focus.
“My dad and I, we own our own auto repair business here in Delaware,” Emory explained. “That’s what keeps us up here, honestly. If it wasn’t for that, we might think about moving. We’ve got a pretty well-established business up here and stuff like that, so we just travel. It works out.”
It is that support that allows Emory to pursue his dream, which makes his success even more special.
“Being able to go with my family and my family supports me 100 percent,” Emory said. “It’s nice to do it the way we do it because you don’t take anything for granted. When you have a season like this and you know you worked as hard as you can to have a season like this, it’s definitely rewarding.”
Emory aims to defend the FUEL Racing Series title in 2019, along with competing in the I-95 Late Model Challenge and experimenting with some Super Late Model and Big-Block Modified racing.
“We’re going to try to defend the FUEL title,” Emory said about this year’s plans. “Hopefully we can pick up where we left off last year. Just continue the strength we had and the consistent runs and some wins. If the schedule doesn’t interfere, we’re going to run the FUEL and the I-95.”
“Then we’ve got a Super motor we’re going to run a limited schedule when we’re not running the 358,” Emory continued. “We’ve actually got a ride up here in Delaware running a Big-Block Modified, and we’re going to run some of the weekly stuff at Georgetown at the Brett Deyo shows. That’s going to be a limited schedule, too, when we have an off weekend we’re going to play with that.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com