By: Ashley McCubbin
After success on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Patrick Emerling made the decision to go into NASCAR Xfinity Series team ownership in 2022 with Joey Gase. NEWS FROM THE PITS recently spoke with the New York native to see how that’s going, and more.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts on your modified season so far?
PATRICK EMERLING: So far, it’s been a little tough. At New Smyrna, we didn’t run the way we wanted to, and the same goes for Richmond. We struggled in practice, and qualifying, and we were going to run decent in the race and salvage a decent run out of it, but got a flat tire and ended up wrecked. Definitely for the modified stuff, it’s been a really tough start to the season.
ASHLEY: What do you feel that you could work on to improve?
PATRICK: Just to stick with what we know set-up wise, and build a little confidence, and get a couple strong runs and build momentum.
ASHLEY: Switching gears, NASCAR Xfinity Series ownership – how did that come about for you, and why is right now the right time?
PATRICK: Well, it was really something that was I thinking about doing for quite a few years and I feel if I’m going to try doing it and running at the national series, it’s now or never. I had a few cars that I ran with OUR Motorsports – the 23 car, and was looking to do my own thing a little bit. I was actually put in touch with Joey, who was looking to do the same thing, but taking on a whole season one person is quite the undertaking.
So putting our equipment together, it’s funny everything I needed he had and a lot of things he needed to have a complete team together, I had. It just kind of worked out, in my opinion, partnering up with him and just something we both had the same ideas, and partnered up and went for it.
ASHLEY: What has surprised you the most so far through the experience?
PATRICK: Well, the competition is really stiff – especially this year in the Xfinity Series, and I’m pretty proud of what we’ve been able to do so far. We have a best finish of 11th – we had some races we struggled, and then others we ran well, and here we have quite a few races in – and we didn’t even start up until mid January, and a lot our season so far is playing catch-up and getting the cars together with starting real behind.
Now I feel we’re in a spot where we can gain some speed in our racecars.
ASHLEY: Based on how things have gone, what are your goals for where you’d want to see the team by year-end?
PATRICK: As far as our goals, if we can get to the point and given the budget that our team has, if we can consistently be on the verge of a top-20 speed-wise, and we can rack up top-20 finishes and consistently get better, then at the end of the year work on getting faster every week, if we can achieve that at the end of the year, then that’d be our goal and we can build a program going into next year.
ASHLEY: You’ve gotten to run Darlington and Dover this year. What are your thoughts on how those went?
PATRICK: On the driver side, my only goal was to finish those two races and just get experience and seat time in those cars, because everything about them is completely different than what I’m used to. get valuable seat time, and that was our goal. As far as how the races went, at Dover, we had a little bit of a tough time. We just didn’t have the best car that day, but we kept the nose and everything clean to be able to finish.
Darlington was a lot better experience as I feel we had a car that we could work with quite a bit, and same thing, was able to get some experience in and finish 24th – which I think we could’ve been a little better than that, but overall, a pretty solid day.
ASHLEY: The Darlington throwback with the sponsorship, and everything looked cool. How was it being able to throw it back to Richie Evans?
PATRICK: It was awesome. To have the paint scheme of the greatest legendary modified driver of all time, and have the family come on-board with us with that was absolutely incredible. The car looked awesome and I was super excited going into that race with that.
ASHLEY: How does your schedule look for Xfinity for the rest of the season?
PATRICK: So it’s looking like I might have an opportunity to run quite a bit of a handful more. Looking at a partial season, running quite a few through the summer, but a lot of it is subject to change based off sponsorship and different drivers running for us. It’s looking like a total of 10-15 races for me driving.
ASHLEY: Nice! And is that on top of running the full modified tour?
PATRICK: Most of it. We’ll run any races that in conflict to that too bad. Definitely a good handful of those, but there’s some conflicts.
ASHLEY: What would be the dream track that you would like to race an Xfinity car at?
PATRICK: I am looking forward to some of the super speedways this year – Daytona and Talladega towards the end of the year here.