LOUDON, N.H. — Patrick Emerling usually finds himself behind the wheel of his No. 07 car in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on race day and calls it a day.
That wasn’t the case at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last Saturday.
Emerling got to enjoy the thrill of running both his modified as well as the No. 23 Chevrolet for Our Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
The day was “an incredible opportunity” for the New York native who entered the day as the points leader in the modified tour.
Results, though, didn’t come quite the way Emerling hoped.
In his No. 07 car, the team could never get a handle on the car and even fell a lap down mid-race en route to a disappointing 13th-place finish. A few hours later, making his second career start in the Xfinity Series for Our Motorsports, a right-front tire failure relegated Emerling to 31st place, four laps down.
“I was really confident going into today,” Emerling said. “Sometimes, one thing goes wrong and you can recover. But we had three or four things go wrong all at once and we just couldn’t catch any breaks.”
The modified race went wrong in quite a few ways. While battling a tight race car was difficult enough, Emerling lost the draft by taking too long to refuel. That sequence of events set him behind early in the contest, especially after a poor qualifying run started Emerling from the 17th position. Entering the day at the top of the leaderboard, he now trails Justin Bonsignore by 10 points in the championship standings.
For all the ways his modified race went wrong, Emerling’s Xfinity race was going comparatively well, considering he is “lacking a lot of experience in the car,” until contact with the Turn 4 wall derailed what could have been a more productive day.
“I thought it went well,” Emerling said. “The start of the race was really comfortable. We had a good short-run speed, we were just getting too tight, chattering the right front on long runs. I think we were hanging in the top 20 and I wanted to finish every lap. I was playing it conservative and taking it fairly easy. I just wanted to finish the race.
“Then we blew that right front and that was a heartbreaker. And then we ground down our sway bar, bent the sway bar or broke the sway bar when that happened, and then the rest we just were riding around wheel-hopping every time I touched the gas. Just a tough day.”
The “Magic Mile” had no magic left for Emerling, but still, he kept his head high knowing there’s still a championship to chase in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
“We’ll get the morale back up and we’ll get to it on the next one,” Emerling said.