Patrick Emerling swept his way to Victory Lane with a near-perfect performance at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday.
The Orchard Park, New York, driver was fastest in practice, won the Coors Light Pole Award and proceeded to lead 148 of the 150 laps en route to his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory.
“It’s just a dream come true,” said Emerling following the win at the historic track dubbed ‘Thunder Valley.’ “It’s incredible. We only run a handful of the Whelen Tour races and to come down here and win practice, catch the pole and lead every single lap, it’s an incredible feeling for us as a team.”
The win for the 24-year-old came in his 78th career start and just his third of 2017. He held off challenges from Chase Dowling and Justin Bonsignore on restarts in the first half of the race, then held off four-time tour champion Doug Coby in the dash to the finish.
He crossed the line 1.239 seconds ahead of Coby. Prior to Wednesday, Emerling’s best career finish was a second at New Hampshire in 2015.
For Coby, the second-place finish was the third straight in Whelen Modified Tour competition and it helped him claw back towards the top of the championships standings.
Timmy Solomito, who was caught up in a Lap 68 accident, came home 15th to maintain a two-point edge on Rowan Pennink. Ryan Preece finished fifth and is nine points behind Solomito, while Coby is 17 points back.
Justin Bonsignore finished third and is 19 points out of first. Chase Dowling and Preece rounded out the top five at Bristol.
Andy Seuss was sixth, followed by Pennink, Ronnie Williams, Bobby Santos and Matt Swanson.