By: Ashley McCubbin
With no finishes worse than eighth in the season opener this year, Patrick Emerling enters Oswego Speedway this weekend as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings leader by a single point over Justin Bonsignore.
The 2021 Spring Sizzler winner recently spoke with NEWS FROM THE PITS about the unique 5/8-mile oval, his season, and more.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts heading into Oswego this Saturday?
PATRICK EMERLING: Well, we’re pretty excited. I think all of our ducks in a row and we’re really looking forward to it, kind of continue the strong runs.
ASHLEY: When you look at the different tracks across the country and on the tour, what is it about Oswego that separates it from other tracks?
PATRICK: It’s quite a different track – quite an odd track. The big thing is the boiler plates, the inside wall, it kind of waves throughout the corner. That’s one thing that’s definitely quite a bit different there. Other than that, it’s a historical track so it’s definitely a pleasure going there.
ASHLEY: What are your thoughts on the season so far?
PATRICK: Well, we’re leading the points which is pretty good. Things are going pretty good right now so far and we just want to continue to it.
ASHLEY: Looking at your performance overall, it seems this year has resulted in better finishes than past seasons on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. What has your team worked on through the off-season that has made the difference?
PATRICK: A little bit of everything and the last couple of years, it’s been a mix of things. It’s been getting our program where we wanted it and a mixture between us making mistakes and just straight bad luck, too, with flat tires and stuff like that. It seemed anytime that we were running good, something would go wrong the last couple of years. So yeah it’s defiantly nice to get out there and have things go right for a change.
ASHLEY: Then looking forward, where do you feel you guys can be even stronger?
PATRICK: So we’re pretty excited going into this year because we’re running Ohswego, Lancaster – that’s another one that we might have a little home field advantage there. Martinsville, that was a really cool race so that was really cool going down there. Richmond is a cool race so really looking forward to going there.
Also, I think just year here, definitely gets us out of the running up east all the time with Stafford and a bunch of races out there. The fact that we’re going to Jennerstown as well, it makes us more of a touring series in the fact that we’re doing races a little further west is pretty cool for us.
ASHLEY: How did you get started in racing initially?
PATRICK: Just something that my father and I always did, whether it was go-karts, motocross. It was something that we always had fun doing and then we started getting into the stockcar stuff awhile ago and just went from there.
ASHLEY: I know you’ve had some big wins, and the ROC Championships. What’s been the most memorable moment?
PATRICK: There’s a few moments that are memorable there, but I think winning Bristol. That was a pretty memorable one and the Spring Sizzler in the odd way that we won it was pretty memorable as well.
ASHLEY: We’ve seen you run a lot of modified stuff through the years – whether NASCAR Whelen Modifed Tour, or ROC as I mentioned. What is it about the modifieds that makes it so much fun?
PATRICK: It’s a little bit more of a grassroots kind of racing, right? it’s just the cars I grew up watching and always watching the races and as far as I’m concerned, that’s it. the Modifieds are the coolest, but that’s my personal opinion. I just love driving the cars and love racing.
ASHLEY: Given the experience under your belt, what would be your advice to someone getting started on the modified side?
PATRICK: Basically, it just comes down to learning and experience. When I first started racing, I wouldn’t imagined that I would be running up front, or winning Modified Tour races and leading the championship points, and that was many years ago. Always stick with it and keep on learning, and always try to do better.
ASHLEY: You’ve had the chance to step up the NASCAR ladder and run the Xfinity Series, and there’s been talk of more starts down the road. What are your thoughts on how that’s gone so far, and the outlook moving forward?
PATRICK: Looking forward for opportunities in the future. My first time in the Xfinity Series there, we were at Bristol. Things were going pretty good until they weren’t, right? We were having a decent run there, but looking forward to eventually running that stuff again.