A Press Release by Lancaster Motorsports Park
Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY, heads into an action-packed race weekend fresh off a strong finish at his home track. This past Saturday, June 10, Emerling posted a runner-up finish in the Ol’ Boy Cup 60 at Lancaster Speedway at New York International Raceway Park.
On Saturday, July 31, he hopes to improve his finishing position by one to take down a victory in the Nu-Way Auto Parts 150; the track’s inaugural Whelen Modified Tour event.
“I’ve been wanting the Modified Tour to come out to Western New York for a long time,” said Emerling, whose travel time to compete on the Modified Tour is normally six plus hours, “not only because it’s a short commute but because I’m hoping it does a lot for Modified racing here in the Western part of the state.”
Before the Modified Tour rolls into town, Emerling will have his hands full with a busy schedule at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. Looking to pad his point lead in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, he is also driving the No. 23 Chevrolet for Our Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
The 30 year old driver currently sits atop the NASCAR Whelen Modified points standings; a scant three points ahead of defending series champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY. Heading into Loudon, Emerling has amassed an impressive five top-five and six top-ten finishes in the six series races thus far this season; including a win in the prestigious Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Riding consistency to the top of the standings, Emerling feels no pressure in pursuit of the championship.
“We want to be leading the points,” said Emerling, almost matter-of-factly. “It’s what you work toward. But, we are really just a bunch of guys that enjoy racing. We are having fun doing what we do and trying to run the best that we can.”
That bunch of guys also includes crew chief Jan Leaty, a successful modified driver in his own right.
“We are good at the same tracks,” said Emerling of his crew chief. “New Hampshire was one of Jan’s best tracks and it’s one of my better tracks as well. I think that definitely provides a connection between us.”
That could spell trouble for the competition at Lancaster. Ironically, Emerling and Leaty are tied on the all-time Modified win list at Lancaster Speedway with seven wins apiece.
Emerling has an impressive stat in the Sportsman Modified division at the Speedway as well. He is tied with Don Staubitz, Jr. for thirteenth on Lancaster Speedway’s all-time Sportsman feature winners list with eight victories. Admittedly, his most memorable experience at the Speedway came while running the sportsman division.
“Years ago, while running the Sportsman division, we won a handful of races in a row and people started complaining that we were cheating,” said Emerling. “One night we finished second. Well, first and third place got disqualified. We were they only legal car in tech.”
With the parity of the front-runners on the Modified Tour this year – Emerling’s average finish is 3.5, Bonsignore’s is 4.5 and Doug Coby’s is 4.4 – the familiarity could be the advantage at the D-shaped half-mile.
“The track is quite different from anywhere else that the Tour runs,” said Emerling. “We’ve won a good amount here in the past and finished second last week even missing on the setup a bit. I have a really good handle of the way you have to drive this place and I know what to expect as the race goes on. I think that gives me at least a slight advantage over the competitors running the track for the first time.”
And, Emerling has been especially good in his home state of NY this season. He has a pair of runner-up finishes at Riverhead and a third-place finish at Oswego. While there is a long way yet to go in the season, Lancaster Speedway could be the catalyst for a run to the championship for the local favorite, which is the “ultimate goal” for Emerling.
Fans won’t want to miss when locals with experience and accolades like Emerling, Tommy Catalano, Tyler Rypkema and Chuck Hossfeld take on perennial favorites like Bonsignore, Coby and others.
General admission tickets are now on sale for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New York International Raceway Park (NYIRP) in Lancaster, NY. Grandstand tickets for the Nu-Way Auto Parts 150, scheduled for Saturday, July 31, are available at SeetheEvents.com for $35 for adults and $15 for children ages 12 and under.