First-Year Whelen Modified Tour Team Breaking Away From Developmental Consultant 

Patrick Emerling Saturday at Monadnock Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

One of the highlights of the first quarter of the 2024 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season has been the performance of veteran Patrick Emerling with a first year team with the division. 

Emerling, of Orchard Park, N.Y., is running this season for first year series owner Rich Gautreau. 

In preparing for the launch of the new team for 2024, Gautreau connected with LFR owner and longtime team consultant Rob Fuller. The Gautreau team started the season housed out of Fuller’s shop in West Boylston, Mass. with Fuller working in a consulting role with the team and crew chief Dale Headquist. 

“We’re building something here,” Emerling said following Saturday’s Whelen Modified Tour Granite State Derby at Monadnock. 

And now team management has made the decision to continue that building process by moving on from Fuller and into their own quarters. 

With four of 16 the events on the 2024 Whelen Modified Tour schedule completed – and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway up next on the schedule on May 18 – the Gautreau owned team will now move out of Fuller’s shop in Massachusetts and be housed in Headquist’s shop in Rhode Island. 

“They’re a new team, they needed some help to get out of the starting gate,” Fuller said. “I feel like I did a pretty good job. The car is competitive. Let’s see what they can do with it.” 

Emerling sits fifth in the series standings, 33 points behind standings leader Ron Silk. 

A 24th place after being involved in a wreck at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on March 29 is the only blemish on the season for the team. Emerling was fourth in the team’s debut in the Whelen Modified Tour season opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. Emerling was fighting for a win and settled for a third on April 7 at the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway. And Emerling had a second consecutive third place at the Granite State Derby 150 at Monadnock Speedway on Saturday.

Fuller said he wishes the team well heading out on their own. 

“It’s the best thing for them right now,” Fuller said. “My doors are always open to them and I’m always a phone call away for them. I’m helping people on the Whelen Modified Tour, I’m helping some people on the [Milton Cat Modified Racing Series], I’m helping some people down south. I’ve got to get back to the race track and do some customer support. I can’t just be focusing on one car.” 


  1. Some help says

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Someone needs to paint that on the walls of their new shop. Wow.

  2. The best thing for the team? In whose eyes. I was a crew member on the 79 and when Fuller wasn’t at the track the car didn’t run. Period. Is he tough to work with yes but you always get results. Why team management would want to move out is the question. I get that having your own shop is nice but unless they have all the equipment that is in west Boylston and Fuller there this is an epic mistake on their part. This is probably Emerling not liking Fuller calling him out on his driving. Fuller always spots for his house teams. Literally drives the car on the radio. If Emerling can’t deal with that he would bow out. Dale Headquist better have fullers number in speed dial.

  3. Seems like a smart move to me, if they have a shop to run out of why pay the overhead for having it housed at LFR and for a shop in RI, it’s not like they are making money to run the tour, so why not save money and house the car in RI.

  4. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    Where in Rhode Island??

  5. Fast Eddie says

    Rhode Island is at the southwestern corner of eastern Massachusetts.

  6. Just Me - The Original says

    @ Steve O, this is not Emerling issue with Fuller. This is an issue with Dale not doing his due diligence maintaining the car. Starter fell out during practice at Monadnock, loose fuel line at Thompson, backup car not being ready, and the list goes on. Fuller can’t do his part if the car is given to him just hours before it’s loaded in the trailer.

    There’s a BIG difference in what tools are available at Fullers shop vs the RI shop. If you want to run up front, you need all the advantages you can get. Surface Plate, Pull down rig, etc…

  7. Steve O that’s 100 % false info. Some of The 79 best runs was with out fuller ! Championship year fuller was NO where to be seen during summers months and the team had a bunch of races finishing top 5 and win . Last year the lepine team had three podium finishes in a row on nascar tour with out fuller right before the team closed up shop. Too bad because they at least gave 16 and 51 some competition clearly! It’s amazing … to me that every team fuller and dale have been involved with last few years have all closed up shop ! Wtf … call it how it is.

  8. Can’t stand the way people love to come on here and bash people. Money doesn’t grow on trees so maybe saving money in own shop gives them a break from overhead for leaving it at LFR. I believe the 79 won a championship with Dale as crew chief didn’t they? If car housed and kept up by Fuller how are all those problems Dale’s fault? Besides plenty of teams running just fine without “ in house” help never met Fuller but just saying plenty of LFR cars out there on their own doing just fine so yes he got them started now their moving forward who cares is it your money or car? Someone always has something negative to say shut up and watch the racing again it’s not your money who cares.

  9. I like Dale

  10. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    Fast Freddie, Thanks for letting me know where the state I live in is. LOL
    I was asking where IN Rhode Island is the car being housed?

  11. The house car is running away. Can’t take it anymore.

    Who said it was important to run a house car???

    Let’s look at the top 10 standings:

    Troyer: 3 cars

    BRE: 1 car

    LFR: 1 car

    FURY: 5 cars

  12. Fast Eddie says

    Sorry, after I sent it I realized I misread your comment.

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