A.J. Emms Reflects on Roller Coaster Season En Route to Top-Five Points Finish

A pair of heat wins. Six Heat Top-Five’s.

A feature victory. Four Top-Five’s. Six Top-10’s.

Despite some trying times throughout the course of the 2021 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds presented by Just Foam It season, the consistency for Emms Racing led them to a solid top-five finish in the final standings.

“Overall with the year, I felt we had a roller coaster season with some really good highs like the first race at Sunset Speedway, and some pretty good lows with an accident also at Sunset Speedway in a heat race,” A.J. Emms commented. “That’s just a testament to a difficult year of racing. It really speaks to how racing can be such a humbling sport.

“I think we learned a lot this season although we struggled. We try to learn a little each year and hopefully we’re able to put some of that learning this off-season into use and try to find a little bit more speed.”

Ultimately, the year started off with the most memorable moment of the season in a whirlwind of a season opener. After getting married on Saturday, Emms elected to have Taylor Holdaway behind the wheel for qualifying at Sunset Speedway. Holdaway was able to get the job done, scoring a heat victory and runner-up.

Emms would get to the track prior to the start of the feature, getting behind the wheel of the modified – though having to start from the tail of the field due to the driver change. The climb to the front came quickly, though, as he put himself inside the top-five with 20 laps to go and was able to capitalize late to score the victory.

“He’s been a childhood friend of mine,” Emms spoke of Holdaway. “He’s a guy that I grew up a couple blocks from, we raced go-karts against each other, we go to Bristol, Tennessee each year together, and spent a lot of time together growing up racing, and it was really special for me to have him in the car.

“He did a great job when I wasn’t there for my heat races and then getting the car dialed in so we could start last and make it up to the front for the win. It has to be one of the most memorable moments of the year, if not my racing career.

“Another memorable moment would be getting put into the wall pretty blatantly in a heat race and destroying the car. That’s one that I definitely won’t forget moving forward.”

Returning back to Sunset Speedway two weeks later, the second heat event would not go according to plan. Battling for the runner-up spot in the early stages, Emms was pushed against the outside frontstretch wall, ultimately forcing him up on two wheels and stuck on the wall.

Despite the heavy damage to the car, the team did not give up in the face of adversity, making the necessary repairs – with help from others, to get the car back out for the feature. Starting from the tail of the field, Emms was able to make his way back through for a 10th-place finish.

“For me, I have such confidence in our team and the people that we have around us,” Emms commented. “I’m very thankful to have my dad working so hard on the car in terms of preparation. Ryan Ward, Peter Schotanus, Josh Lahay – everybody that puts in work to the car, I have confidence in them and know that they’re going to bring each and everything they can to the races every week and in doing so, it was great to see us rebound just to affirm some of those feelings.

“But definitely after the heat race woes at Sunset Speedway, I was incredibly proud of our team and all the people that came to help us out to get the car back together to get out on the race track. And with a green to checkered race, I thought it was very impressive to come from last even still with a bent-up racecar and finish 10th, especially with the field as stacked as it is.

“Like I said, I have a lot of confidence in the team and it was really positive to see the resiliency.”

The middle four races of the season ultimately kept the roller coaster feel going, as there were some positives, as well as a couple lows. A fifth-place finish at Sauble Speedway and a third-place finish at Delaware Speedway were ultimately countered with a 20th at Sunset Speedway following contact on Lap 1, and eighth at Flamboro Speedway after getting stuck on the outside to start.

The year would end off on a good note, though, as Emms scored a heat victory before running inside the top-four all feature long at the Autumn Colours Classic en route to a third-place finish.

“It was good to end the year at Autumn Colours with a third-place finish, especially with how competitive the OSCAAR Modified division is and not only a field stacked with great drivers, but also a field full of great cars,” he commented. “That third-place finish will help carry momentum into next year, and confidence in running up front most of the race. Ultimately, hopefully like I said, moving forward, we can minimize our mistakes not only on my driving end, but on the mechanical end so we can continue to be fast next season.”

Looking back over the course of the season, Emms says it emphasized the importance of having everything together. While some weeks they were great handling-wise, you need to also have the rest of the package to go with that.

“Honestly, the division now is so tight; like, you really need to have a car that’s going to be able to do everything and handle at all different tracks, especially with how our invert works now,” he explained. “You have to have that whole package so you can pass cars and try to get closer to the front especially when there’s fast cars starting at the front. So it’s really getting back to crossing all of our Ts and dotting all of our Is, and not that we weren’t doing that before, but we also have to step it up a little bit just because the competition is also doing that.

“I think it also helps with having a lot of great names in the division now, like Brian MacDonald is at the track working on cars, and you see Hanleys working on the car. You see so many great people that have a lot of great knowledge in our garage area so that just tells us that we need to everything that we can to be there each and every week.”

Emms Racing is proud to be supported by BAE Environmental, FMR Scrap Buyers and Recyclers, TL Tire, Klotz Canada, Speedy Glass Orillia, Mike Westwood Fabrications, Peter Built Racecars and Short Track Musings.

Fans are encouraged to stay tuned to the Emms Racing website at http://www.ajemms.com, as well as the team’s facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/ajemmsracing/.

By: Ashley McCubbin / AM Marketing – ashleymccubbin17@gmail.com.

A.J. Emms “Excited To Just Get Back in the Racecar and Turn Some Laps.”

For A.J. Emms, racing is something that has always been a part of his life, met with summers filled with competition from the age of six. As he says, “I’ve never not been racing; I only know what it’s like to race and only know what it’s like to go to the track every weekend in the summer.”

So coming off a shortened season that seen some success, it’s not surprising he’s one of many Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified drivers excited about getting back to the track.

“I think it’s going to be a really strong year for the OSCAAR Modified division with a lot of good talent coming in and a lot of great racecars,” he said. “I think the competition will be the highest been in the series, and I know for us, and our entire team, we’re working at making sure we’re competitive this year. We’ve done a lot of work this off-season, like everybody else has, to make sure our car is prepared and be up to the task of competing.

“I think last year we learned a lot and were able to try some different things with the shortened season and not having points, and we’re hoping we can take some of the things that we learned last year and implement them. Hopefully we’re up for the challenge and I’m excited to just get back in the racecar and turn some laps.”

Read the full interview on the OSCAAR website.

30th Anniversary of OSCAAR – A.J. Emms

Throughout the past eight years, four different drivers have been able to call themselves a Queenston Chverolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, and Touchwood Cabinets Champion.

One of those being your 2019 title holder, A.J. Emms

Read the latest feature as part of OSCAAR’s 30th Anniversary series featuring our driver by clicking here.

OSCAAR Season on Postponement Until July Due to Covid-19

With the current phase of reopening for the province and tracks remaining closed to competition, the 2020 OSCAAR season opener has been tentatively scheduled for July.

As of Friday May 15, the first five original dates on the schedule have been cancelled for the time being. There is a chance of the June 6 event at Jukasa Motor Speedway could possibly be ran later on this summer, as well as the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods presented by Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park being added to the August 15 date at Delaware Speedway.

Read the latest update from OSCAAR on the COVID-19 situation by clicking here.

A.J. Emms Ready to “Continue to Build Our Program” After Championship Campaign

After putting together a memorable Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, and The Fyre Place & Patio Shop season in 2019, it’s back to business as usual heading into this year.

“My thoughts going into this year are pretty much the same as my thoughts going into every year,” he said. “With the last couple of seasons, we’ve been really fortunate to learn from some of our mistakes and continue to build our program. We’re just going to continue to try and move in the same direction this year in terms of learning, getting better, trying to minimize mistakes.

“Fortunately, I think everybody is in the same boat as to not knowing the next day, or the next race is to bring. But I think with that being the case, we just need to continue to stay positive, continue to prepare, and hope that we can get in as many races as possible this season.”

Read the full article on the OSCAAR website by clicking here.

Emms Racing Welcomes Aboard Speedy Glass Orillia

Emms Racing is proud to announce a new partnership, as Speedy Glass Orillia has joined as a sponsor of the No. 14 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified in 2020.

Located at 315 West Street South, Speedy Glass Orillia can repair or replace any type of auto glass whatever the make, model, and age of the vehicle. They will always try to first repair your existing windshield, usually saving you both time and money.

They also offer additional products and services including trailer hitches, bike racks, camera recalibration, deflectors, truck bed liners, side bars, water repellent and weatherproofing treatment, car floor mats, windshield wipers, mirrors, and tinted windows.

The Speedy Glass name has been linked to window repairs since 1934, with a focus on delivering top-shelf service, expertise, and product quality through each of their service centres across the country.

You can learn more about Speedy Glass Orillia on their website at https://www.speedyglass.ca/en/service-centre/ontario/orillia/247-315_west-st-s-.html. They can also be reached at (705)325-3500.

Emms is coming off a successful season that was consistent all the way through, highlighted by a four feature wins and seven heat victories – including both the Rick Woolner Memorial and Don Biederman Memorial. Everything would culminate together with being crowned the 2019 OSCAAR Modified Champion.

“It means a lot – not only to me, but my entire crew, and my family,” he said in October. “My dad, myself, Ryan, and Peter Schotanus have put in a ridiculous amount of work so many years to get in this position and I was just very fortunate to have those people around me and capitalize on the opportunity that was given to me. So I mean, for me, it’s a big deal.

“Being in racing my whole life, you see guys winning championships. One of my heroes as a kid was Tom Walters, and to see the amount of championships that he’s won, that’s something that I’d obviously strive to me and elevate myself to that level. So starting off with an OSCAAR Modified Championship and it’s a great way to cap off a year where we didn’t expect to have these things happen.”

Speedy Glass Orillia joins previously announced partner BAE Environmental on the No. 14 Modified in 2020. The full plans for the Emms Racing team, as well as additional marketing partners, will be announced at a future date.

Fans are encouraged to stay tuned to the Emms Racing website at http://www.ajemms.com, as well as the team’s facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/ajemmsracing/.

By: Ashley McCubbin / AM Marketing – ashleymccubbin17@gmail.com

Emms Racing Welcomes Back BAE Environmental

Emms Racing is proud to announce BAE Environmental will be back on-board as a sponsor of the No. 14 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified in 2020.

Located at 18 Park View Ave in Oro-Medonte, BAE & Associates Environmental Inc. serves all of Ontario providing complete, hands-on, environmental consulting, concentrating on Phase I, II & III ESA’s, specializing in the remediation of Brownfields using the latest of technologies.

Emms is coming off a successful season that was consistent all the way through, highlighted by a four feature wins and seven heat victories – including both the Rick Woolner Memorial and Don Biederman Memorial. Everything would culminate together with being crowned the 2019 OSCAAR Modified Champion.

“It means a lot – not only to me, but my entire crew, and my family,” he said in October. “My dad, myself, Ryan, and Peter Schotanus have put in a ridiculous amount of work so many years to get in this position and I was just very fortunate to have those people around me and capitalize on the opportunity that was given to me. So I mean, for me, it’s a big deal.

“Being in racing my whole life, you see guys winning championships. One of my heroes as a kid was Tom Walters, and to see the amount of championships that he’s won, that’s something that I’d obviously strive to me and elevate myself to that level. So starting off with an OSCAAR Modified Championship and it’s a great way to cap off a year where we didn’t expect to have these things happen.”

The full plans for the Emms Racing team, as well as additional marketing partners, will be announced at a future date.

Fans are encouraged to stay tuned to the Emms Racing website at http://www.ajemms.com, as well as the team’s facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/ajemmsracing/.

By: Ashley McCubbin / AM Marketing – ashleymccubbin17@gmail.com

Getting to Know…. Ryan Emerson

For Ryan Emerson, he was always a NASCAR fan growing up, and had watched A.J. Emms run a T.Q. Midget a couple times at Barrie Speedway. His involvement with the team, though, did not begin until Emms started racing in the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds.

“It wasn’t until we were in college and University in North Bay he approached me and asked if I was interested in helping him and Jeff (Emms),” Emerson recalls. “He was going to drive Allan Adam’s No. 99 modified. At first I thought it was a joke and kinda played it off saying, ‘Ya sure, why not?’ Then one day, I went to Allan’s shop with AJ and I really enjoyed myself and did a race or two and realize this racing thing isn’t too bad. I’ve been here ever since.”

For Emerson, the best part about being involved with the team is the family-oriented atmosphere.

“You have a father and son duo (Jeff and A.J.) that works tirelessly getting the car ready and you have the wonderful wives that put up with them,” Emerson jokes. “No, the wives are amazing. Jayne and Cassie always make sure we all have full belly’s at the track, water, and specially me to remind me about sunscreen on those hot sunny days. Jayne also is amazing with her everyday job making the shirts and hats and accessories that makes Emms Racing one of the best looking teams at the track!”

With now having traveled all the tracks on the tour, Emerson notes that “all the tracks are special in their own way,” but three of them stand out in particular to him – Full Throttle Motor Speedway – Varney, Jukasa Motor Speedway, and Delaware Speedway.

“Varney because it’s like a small dome very tight, a Bristol kinda feeling too it, and one mistake your pulling fenders back or worst packing up early,” he explained. “Delaware – yes, a long drive to get there, but it’s a very cool track. You’re parked in the infield just like a NASCAR race and with how old the track is with the bumps. It’s cool being on pit road and seeing the cars come off turn four, and hit the little dip in the track and keep going like it was nothing.

“Jukasa – well that’s explains itself. If you have ever been there you’ll understand – big, fast , and super exciting (hopefully you’ll get to see us in victory lane there this year).”

With having been here through the whole ride, it made winning the championship last season that much more memorable, with Emerson calling the year as a whole ‘incredible’.

It didn’t ultimately start out that way, as Emerson recalls being a little bummed following a phone conversation with Emms in early January.

“He was saying because of his commitments to building his and Cassie’s house that it was just going to be a part time schedule,” he recalls. “To be honest, it sucked hearing that, but at the same time I knew where he was coming from and I understand and am also excited for them.”

Though with each passing race on the schedule, the attitude seemed to change as Emerson said he noticed the fire changed, with both A.J. and Jeff Emms getting hungrier to win races and chase the title.

“After having a little lady luck in the first couple races virtue other guys getting DQs, we were right there in the top three,” he continued. “As soon as we dominated Varney and then went to Delaware and drove away, it was like, ‘Alright, we’re this far, let’s go and win this!’ I think it really didn’t hit us, or at least me that AJ was 2019 OSCAAR Modified Champion until ACC (Autumn Colours Classic) driver intros when I went on the radio and did my thing wishing him good luck and it slipped out when I said, By the way, congratulations champ!’ Pretty unreal moment and I couldn’t imagine doing that with any other group of people.”

Even though the championship was cool, one of the most memorable moments for Emerson comes from a couple season ago at Delaware Speedway when they were having battery issues.

“AJ was on pit road just about to head out for a heat race and he died so we were going to bump start him,” Emerson recalls. “So myself and few other people started to push. Well I didn’t realize they let go and I was still pushing the car. It jerked and took off, and I face planted in the middle of pit road in front of a packed grandstands at Delaware. That was awesome, for everyone but me.”

Getting to Know…. Cassie Weston

For Cassie Weston, her interest in racing did not develop until she met A.J. Emms. Though admittedly, her love for the sport, including “the ups and downs that come with it,” has grown since those beginnings.

“The best part about being on the Emms Racing team is spending time with the crew and watching AJ do what he loves,” she commented.

Obviously, last season brought plenty of smiles in that respect, in watching Emms take home the 2019 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified Championship, along with a couple marquee victories.

“I think the championship was well deserved,” she commented. “Everyone has good and bad luck, but I see the hard work and long hours the crew puts into getting the car ready every week, it’s nice to see it pay off. Hopefully that carries to 2020!”

The championship season brought forth many memories, including her most memorable to date.

“One weekend last year, we won the Friday night feature race at Delaware, and Jeff AJ and I got a hotel that night,” she recalled. “The next day we planned on going to watch the ROC race at Jukasa because it was AJ’s birthday weekend. Still excited from his win the night before, AJ wants to run with the ROCs. After a few conversations with the tech man on what they need to change, and borrowing used tires from Patrick Emerling, the car transformed to an ROC mod!

“Because it was just AJ, Jeff and I, I turned into a pit crew member. Before I knew it was hauling tires, handing tools and changing gear. When race time came, Jeff and I headed to the spotter stand on top of the tower. Mechanical troubles took us off the track but it was a great last minute spontaneous time! Although I think AJ had it in his head all along that he was joining the ROCs that day.”

She also added another good memory came in 2018 “riding shotgun with Randy in the corvette!”

After a successful year, she’s on-board for what’s to come this season, noting that her favourite track on the season is Sunset Speedway, where everything will begin in May.

“It’s a nice facility with lots of history,” she commented. “I have lots of fun memories there at camping at Velocity. We sometimes go there on our off weekends.”

Emms Racing Celebrates Championship at Year-End Banquet

MARKHAM, Ontario — They may have had to wait until the calendar flipped to the new year, but it was certainly worth it.

This past weekend, Emms Racing gathered together at the 2019 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified banquet to celebrate their championship.

With a consistent season from start to finish, highlighted by a four feature wins and seven heat victories – including both the Rick Woolner Memorial and Don Biederman Memorial, A.J. Emms was able to take home his first OSCAAR championship.

“First off, I would really like to thank OSCAAR; the entire division – they’ve made the entire series possible,” he said in his speech. “And without OSCAAR, Dave, Bruce, Gord, and everybody’s support – this series would not be possible. They brought the series to Ontario and it’s been really great. That goes the same with the Hot Rod division and the Pro Sprint division. OSCAAR is a division that I’m proud to be a part of and proud to be represent, and hope to represent moving forward.

“My dad always taught me to surround myself with good people. He said that no matter how good you are, there’s somebody that will be better so you always should do your best, and surround yourself with the best people possible. My dad helped me surround myself with good people this year, and himself included – and that’s what helped to make this championship possible. Those people are everybody in this room that makes OSCAAR better. Those people are the people that are sitting at table six.

“This is something that since I started racing at five years old – I’ve raced my entire life, I’ll always, always want to be a late model racecar driver, and now I’m a modified racecar driver and I’m very proud of that. I want to thank each and every one of you for being here, and your contributions to the sport, and especially those people over there and their contributions to me, my family, especially my fiancé Cassie, and everybody else that made it possible as it means the world to me. So thank you very much.”

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.

With the final wrap now put on the 2019 season, focus has already began to shift to 2020 with preparation in high gear for the upcoming season. The full list of marketing partners and plans will be announced in the coming months.

Fans can keep up with A.J. Emms all year by visiting his website at http://www.ajemms.com. You can also follow Emms on twitter via http://www.twitter.com/ajemms. Also, be sure to like A.J. Emms Racing facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/ajemmsracing/.

By: Ashley McCubbin / AM Marketing – ashleymccubbin17@gmail.com