About midway through the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour Queen City Clash 75 Saturday at Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, fans were witnessing what turned out to be a repeat performance of the Patrick Emerling and Chuck Hossfeld show.
Emerling was busy at the front of the field trying to hold off the torrid challenges of Hossfeld. For the second time during Saturday evening’s race program Emerling was able to barely hold off Hossfeld to score the victory.
Just an hour or so earlier, in their identically appearing Sportsman division cars, Emerling was able to hold Hossfeld at bay to earn a narrow win in the Sportsman 35-lap event. Emerling is currently on a hot streak having already won the last Sportsman race run at Lancaster on May 7. Emerling also triumphed in the ROC Richie Evans Memorial 61 on May 14 at Oswego Speedway.
Emerling started Saturday’s ROC Queen City Clash 75 in the fourth position following the pre-race redraw while Hossfeld began the race in 12th. Emerling raced by Brian DeFebo on lap 28 for the lead and never looked back.
It was a different story in the Sportsman 35 as far as race starting position was concerned. Emerling began that race in the 24th and last starting position after being penalized for a car rubbing incident with John Barber during a heat qualifying race run earlier in the evening.
Remaining unfazed by the penalty, Emerling worked his way to the front of the Sportsman field, gaining the lead for good from Hossfeld on lap 15 to secure the win. Hossfeld placed second.
Emerling is still a relatively young driver while the veteran Hossfeld is one of the greatest Modified drivers in Lancaster history.
“To be beating guys like Chuck is an awesome feeling,” said Emerling. “This is his house. We were just on point all day. We had the Sportsman car handling very well. The Modified was handling very well. The track was awesome for us. It’s a dream come true to be winning like this.”
Hossfeld acknowledged the tremendous drives turned in by Emerling. “I’ve got to give it to Patrick and his team,” said Hossfeld. “They did a heck of a job. They were the winners. We redrew 12th in the ROC race so that put us in a bad spot. The truth is he did an excellent job and so did my team. We were runner-up, but we put on a show that I think the fans enjoyed because it was just great racing.”
Elsewhere, at Freedom Motorsports Park, the story of their season after two weeks has been the poor track conditions at the Delevan based dirt track oval. After opening night on May 13 produced very rough and bumpy track conditions, this past Friday saw extremely dusty track conditions that at times made it difficult to see for the competitors, and made life miserable for the spectators as the wind was blowing the silky dust into the main front stretch grandstand.
On three occasions Friday’s race program was stopped to allow track crews time to water and groom the track but each time the disturbing dust returned.
Second-year Freedom promoter Bob Reis is working tirelessly at trying to conquer the track-surface issues. Reis has brought many positive improvements overall to Freedom in his short time there and knows the track problems must be corrected. In fairness, Friday was a hot, sunny and windy spring day, which always makes dirt-track preparation much trickier.
After the racing program Friday – that did feature competitive racing despite the dusty track conditions – Reis took time to assess his track issues.
“It turned out a lot drier than we thought,” said Reis of Friday’s track. “We had a condition last week where there was an awful lot of moisture in the track because we had weather all the way until 11 o’clock in the morning last Friday. We never actually put a water truck on it because it had so much moisture in it and it got very rough.
“Tonight, we had the rough part somewhat fixed but it just made it a little bit drier than I thought that we were going to do. We rolled it to get the roughness out but I think we packed the material so hard that we just couldn’t get any water into it. We didn’t expect this but we didn’t know it was going to happen.
“The track looks pretty racy other than its dusty, so it’s not 100 percent fixed but we’ve made a little headway. We’ll get it right. We did a lot of work to Turns One and Two over the winter and in the fall and reshaped the track and all that new material has not taken well and we just have to keep working on it and try to get it to take and get the weather to cooperate with us a little bit and we’ll be all right.”
Reis attended the Queen City Clash 75 at Lancaster Saturday and mentioned that he already worked four hours Saturday before coming to Lancaster to continue to further correct the Freedom surface woes.
One of the very positive aspects of Freedom’s race program is the addition of the NY6A Micro Sprints headed by veteran local racer Danny Knoll Jr. The traveling group brought a very strong field of 27 cars Friday and the winged, open-wheel, open-cockpit machines proved lightning quick with Knoll’s son Danny Knoll III grabbing the checkered flag. The NY6A group will make several more appearances at Freedom throughout this season.