ORILLIA, Ontario — This past weekend was busy for Emms Racing with a pair of events in two different series at two different race tracks.
A.J. Emms began his weekend at Delaware Speedway on Friday night, taking part in the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified event. He showed speed right off the trailer, winning his heat to qualify seventh for the feature.
He’d steadily make his way forward once the green flag was flown for the main event, taking over the lead by the halfway mark. He would then stretch the lead out, before holding off the field on a late-race restart with eight laps to go.
The victory meant a lot for A.J. Emms and the team in essentially getting the monkey off their backs in being their first victory in OSCAAR Modified competition since winning at Sauble Speedway two years ago.
“We struggled the first few races of the year trying to figure out the set-up and now we’ve gone back to the drawing board and went back our basics with what we know about the car,” he explained. “We found some issues before Varney (Full Throttle Motor Speedway) and we had hoped that they hit the nail on the head, and they did at Varney.”
The speed was there in the No. 14 Modified at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, as Emms dominated en route to winning the Rick Woolner Memorial.
“Moving into Delaware, we found some more issues with the car so that really translated to speed on the race track,” he continued. “We were kind of able to hold our spot and our ground, and just pick off guys as they made mistakes and worked out way forward. Starting seventh, we weren’t sure how we were going to fair out but as I just stayed patient and made my way through traffic, the longer I went, the better my car got. We were definitely in a good spot there.”
While it is Emms’ first trip to victory lane at Delaware Speedway, he has always run well at the half-mile, scoring three top-five’s in five previous OSCAAR Modified starts.
“Delaware is another one of those tracks that I’ve really always had good fortune at,” he commented. “I’ve had some fast racecars there, and being able to run up at the front, it really suits my driving style – in the way that Varney suits my driving style. I always seem to have a good run there, and that’s always been a good staple in my career at Delaware.”
The victory at Delaware Speedway, combined with a pair of top-10’s to start the season, currently have Emms on top of the OSCAAR point standings.
“Having the points lead isn’t that something that we had even considered or thought about beforehand,” he commented. “I personally hadn’t even looked at the points until this week when my crew guy Ryan showed me. So to have this points lead at this junction of the season is especially important with the rain outs that we’ve had.
“Although this is only three races in, traditionally, we would be at the halfway point of our season right now, and when we look at how many races are left, we’re almost at the halfway point. So it is important to have it. You’re better to be chased, then chase people, if that makes sense, and we’re hoping that we can take it one race at a time and not think too many races ahead.”
Following the victory, Emms Racing made the trip to Jukasa Motor Speedway for the ROC Modified event.
“We intended go there and just go watch the racing, as I’ve always been fascinated with ROC Modifieds and I think they’re just spectacular machines,” Emms commented. “I guess as I grow older, I’m just becoming more and more of a modified guy. I used to love late models and other cars, but modifieds have a soft spot in my heart so it was important for me to head down and watch. Same with the Super Modifieds – just such fast cars so why not go watch them at such a facility like Cayuga?”
Though following discussions with the series technical officials, they made the decision to take part in the event – despite being heavily down in horsepower when you compare the OSCAAR rules and ROC rules to each other.
Emms would finish fifth in qualifying heat, and was credited with a 16th-place finish in the feature after pulling off mid-race.
“We borrowed a set of tires off of Patrick Emerling and were able to bounce a few different ideas off of him and Jan Leaty, and we were very welcomed with open arms but not only the ROC Modified series, but also many of the competitors,” Emms spoke of the experience. “People like Scott Wylie, Patrick Emerling, Jan Leaty, all those guys offered to help out and were very welcoming, and Paul Townsend whose from Guelph, Ontario was very welcoming to the series. We felt as though it was a positive experience.
“Obviously, we are the type of people that do like to go out and win races. But, with that said, and being cogitative enough about the competition we were racing against, where we ran was decently competitive. We did pull off a little bit early, just had a small vibration in the front end. So we pulled off to save it and make sure we were good for OSCAAR, but it was a good experience. With those 15-inch tires, boy, it was something else to drive.”
The Emms Racing team will not get any time off, as they will be in action on Saturday, July 20 at Sunset Speedway for the next OSCAAR Modified event. Emms has ran well there before, scoring a couple heat victories with a pair of fifth-place finishes over the past two years. In eight starts at the third-mile oval, he has scored a pair of top-five’s and five top-10’s.
“Although Sunset is like a home game for me being from Orillia – not really a home game, but just closest to our house, Sunset is one of those places that for driving, it’s not my favourite,” Emms admitted. “It’s kind of one of those tracks that we’ve had some success at in the past, but we’ve struggled to get the finishes we feel we should have there, just because we have expectations for us in how we run. With that being said, if we can keep all four wheels on it this weekend and get a strong, solid finish, I think that’ll be a successful weekend.
“Obviously when we go to any track on the circuit, our plan is to win, but with that being said at the same time, it’s so important that we keep all four wheels on it, click off laps, and run the car where it should be. If we have a fifth-place car, we need to finish fifth. But our hope is that we’ve prepared a first-place car and can win.”
Emms Racing is proud to be sponsored by BAE Environmental, Hastings Home Hardware, Klotz Canada, FMR Scrap Buyers, TL Tire, Artech Promotional Products, Peter Built Racecars, and AM Marketing as marketing partners for the 2019 campaign.
Press Release by Ashley McCubbin of AM Marketing
Delaware Speedway Victory Lane photo courtesy of Dave Franks Photos
Jukasa Motor Speedway photos courtesy of Cassie Weston