Patrick Emerling Likely To Cut Back Whelen Modified Tour Schedule In 2016

Patrick Emerling  (Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Patrick Emerling (Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR)

With top-10 finishes in five of the last seven events in 2015, including a career best second place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 26, Whelen Modified Tour driver Patrick Emerling and his family owned team looked on the verge of playing contender for victories on a weekly basis in 2016.

Unfortunately for Emerling, it will likely be more of a case of picking and choosing select events to chase wins at.

Emerling told RaceDayCT on Tuesday that his team will likely not run full-time with series in 2016.

Emerling, of Orchard Park, N.Y, completed his fifth consecutive full-time season on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2015 with a career best fifth place finish in the standings.

Though he cited the commitment it takes in running New England events while being based in Western, New York, as the biggest issue facing his team.

“There’s nothing definite yet, but I don’t think we’ll be running the full tour,” Emerling said. “I think we’ll pick a race here or there, that’s what we’re thinking. But we haven’t totally decided that yet. But we will probably be cutting back. The trouble with me running the [Whelen Modified Tour] is that the tour is centrally located for guys out in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, kind of out in that region of New England. I’m kind of way out in left field.

“The closest race for us about six and a half hours away. What it is is that basically it’s a whole day driving up and then basically a whole day driving back. We’ve just all got busy to a point. I’m pretty busy. A couple of the crew guys are just burned out.”

Emerling said he would like to focus more on the New York based Race of Champions Tour in 2016.

Emerling has made 69 career starts with the series dating back to 2011 with six career top-fives and 25 top-10’s. He was the 2011 Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the year.

He recorded his first two career poles in 2015, on Aug. 7 at Stafford Motor Speedway and Aug. 12 at Thompson Speedway. In addition to his second place at Loudon in Sept., he was also fourth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the July 18 event.

“We have been performing better and we’ve had better cars,” Emerling said. “The one thing we do lack with the series is that I think a lot of the other teams have more of an opportunity to test and they do a lot more testing. Where we are, we can’t really do that because we’re working and we can’t really get out to test at those tracks.

“We’ve been trying to get the cars better and I think it was really starting to show. We got a couple poles there and definitely started getting better cars and we were getting faster toward the end of the season. I feel like if we were to run the full series next year we would be better than we were next year. I feel like we’re kind of on the verge … but then again it’s just, the crew is burned out, I’m burned out. We’re all kind of burned out of running the series. Who knows, that may change when we’re coming into next year.”


  1. Tom Schwarz says

    I hope you still run the full Whelen Tour next year. Being from N.Y. State we enjoy watching you or following you when we can’t attend. As friends of Mikayla and having ties to the #07 we are your fans.

  2. Another one bites the dust.

  3. It’s too bad. Anybody that ran full time and then cuts back and picks and chooses their races will get zero slack and respect from Nascar!

  4. It has to be tough traveling from Buffalo…

  5. crazy larry says

    This is supposed to be a tour not just Stafford and Thompson ,One race One track!! NOT 3 at one place that suck for all racers

  6. Back in the day guys like Bodine , Evans , Cook , Flemke would race 3- 4 times a week ! It makes you wonder how in the heck they did it . If they were not on the road they were in the shop working on the car . They went down the road with those rikity ole trucks with open trailers . How times have changed .

  7. Another team sick of getting beat. So let’s just quit. Wow. Who raised these people to become quiters? I can’t win on the tour so I’m gonna quit and race somewhere where the competition is less so I can feel better about myself. Sorry.

  8. Wow Did we read the same story??? I didnt see anything in the story about him “quitting” anything..
    I think what he said was the guys including himself were “burnt out”. I think if you had to drive a day to get to a track, race a day ,then drive a day to get back home,it would wear on you too.
    Doing what he did,I would say he did everything but quit!. Thats a lot of driving for a “quitter”

  9. Fast Eddie says

    To Patrick and crew: Thanks for making the long tow so often this year! Hopefully you can make some of the tour races in the future. I definitely appreciate anyone’s participation at whatever level works best for them. I’m sure you’ll have something for the competition when you can make an event!

  10. Jim, back when those other guys were running 3-4 days a week they did not have to be there at like 9 am for a race that does not have qualifying until 5pm. (with more practice time than it would actually take to run the race in between) All pavement tracks and tours have fallen into his trap. Trying to make everything into a borderline Cup race weekend format when it is not needed. The World of Outlaws Sprints and the 2 major dirt Late Model series travel all over the place. But they do only a limited amount of hot laps not long before qualifying starts.

  11. Come on David. This is not about quitting it is about time and funding. When you are running against highly leveraged teams how do you compete? The rich teams have the sponsors, money and equipment to be able to afford to do what they do. These guys probably have volunteer help like everyone else, people who have to work a regular job to support their families then spend nights and weekends working on a race car. These guys have to commute a long distance to race on the tour again more money. To race for what? The tour pays crap so how can you afford to survive? They are not quitters who are tired of getting beat, they are a team that has to live within their means and if it means cutting back they cut back.

  12. Well said humphry.

  13. It comes down to fun. If it was fun, people would be ready and willing to spend whatever it takes. Let’s face it, the NASCAR Modified Tour just isn’t fun. And hasn’t been for many years.

  14. If it came down to JUST fun there would be 100 cars every week. It comes down to money and lots of it. Although that long commute has worn a lot of teams out. A lot of these stories are just to get the word out that they are available for other rides or open to new or additional sponsorship. Keeping your name out there in November can pay dividends in the spring. The Emerling team is on the cusp of wins and possibly championships. Hopefully they can make a majority of the shows in 2016. Top notch team right here.

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