Through any driver’s racing career, they ultimately get the chance to partake in a battle for position which becomes memorable. For A.J. Emms, there’s been plenty through the years, dating back from when he started in go-karts, all the way through the Pro 4 Modifieds and now.
“When I think back over the years, one of the ones most people wouldn’t think of would be racing Pro 4 Modifieds at Varney Motor Speedway and racing against Cliff Hodgkinson,” he commented. “Cliff Hodgkinson, in my opinion, is a very underrated racecar driver, and does a lot of really good things right. I do recall one event where we were back-and-forth, back-and-forth battling. That really helped me refine my skills and get me better. So that was one that I remember back to.
“I’ve had some battles with a lot of people in the OSCAAR Modified division over the years as well that were memorable. Battles with Gary McLean, battles with Andy Kamrath at Sunset Speedway a few years ago. There’s been some hard battles, some bumps and bruises along the way, but at the same time, all those experiences I look back as fond memories and try to learn from them and try to get better from those experiences. “
Emms will hope to add several more to the list this coming season, as he gets ready for his eighth season behind the wheel of a modified. Everything will kick off beginning at Sunset Speedway’s Spring Velocity on May 21 and 22.
Going into the year, the driver of the No. 14 says while you should expect to see the same competitors at the front of the field, there are a lot of unknowns.
“Last year, a lot of teams showed strength towards the end,” he commented. “So I feel although things will stay the same, you never really know. I look forward to battling it out with great competitors through the modified division. As a team, we’re just looking to cross our Ts and dot our Is and ensure we’re bringing the best racecar we can every week, and minimizing mistakes and having some fun.”
Just like past seasons, the goal is simple for 2022 – get to victory lane, as much as possible throughout the summer months. That’s why he’s focused on minimizing mistakes, whether in preparations before the weekend at the shop, or on the race track through the course of the weekend.
“I think with our off-season preparation, we’re hoping some of that preparation will help to transfer to success on the race track,” he explained. “I think other things we need to do is sticking with our notes, and like I said, putting ourselves in the right position to succeed on and off the race track. Specifically, it’s hard to pin point one area. For me, racing is a game of small gains which equal something bigger, and I think all those small areas, we just need to get a little better and it’ll show on the race track. I’m hoping we’ve done that with our off-season preparation so now we just need to go and execute.”
The 2022 schedule for the OSCAAR Modifieds is set to crisscross the province, allowing an opportunity to experience a bit of everything. For Emms, though, a pair of previous victories at Flamboro Speedway, combined with the track’s own history as they celebrate 50 years of racing, has him looking forward to the two events at the Millgrove, Ontario oval. Perhaps redemption is on the mind, as he failed to score a top-five there last year after getting stuck in the outside lane at the beginning of the event.
“I’m also looking forward to hitting up all the tracks in Ontario,” he added. “One track I obviously miss is Full Throttle Motor Speedway, and Jukasa Motor Speedway – both those are ones that I really enjoy, but at the same time, I think going to each track, I think we will put ourselves in position to run up front. So really, every race track is one to we want to get to and get out there and try to contend.”
Ultimately, being up front is the name of the game for 2022 and hopefully avoiding the other side of the sport – a wreck. It’s something Emms knows about, with having experienced the most dramatic wreck of last season at Sunset Speedway after contact from Jason Keen.
“That would be one of the craziest ones (wrecks) especially since I was leaving on my honeymoon that night from the race track,” he reflected. “It had to be one of the craziest ones just because I didn’t feel there was a need for it – at all. In addition to that, another accident would be wrecking at Delaware Speedway with Jeff Showler. That was another hard hit that was unexpected – just a racing incident. That was another tough one, and I guess over the years I’ve had some rolls an some flips in different midgets that I’ve driven in the past. There were some pretty hard hits in the past.
“When you do it as long as I’ve had – although I’m fairly young, I’ve done this for a long time and been a part of the sport for a long time – it’s bound to happen. So unfortunately that’s just the name of the game.”
Emms Racing is proud to be supported by BAE Environmental, Bromley Automotive, TL Tire, FMR Scrap Buyers & Recyclers, Speedy Glass Orillia, Klotz Canada, Creecher’s Designs, TSS Top Shops, Peter Built Racecars, and Short Track Musings for the 2022 campaign.
By: Ashley McCubbin/AM Marketing – firstname.lastname@example.org