Interviews

A.J. Emms Rebounds for Runner-Up Finish at Sauble Speedway

SAUBLE BEACH, Ontario — After going for a spin in qualifying, A.J. Emms turned a deep in the field starting spot into a runner-up finish on Saturday night at Sauble Speedway.

“A bit of a roller coaster of an evening,” he commented. “It was great to see so many OSCAAR Hot Rods as well as OSCAAR Modifieds out. They’ve done a nice job with the facility in getting it all cleaned up. In terms of driving style, Sauble has traditionally hasn’t been a track that has been my favourite, although a beautiful facility – although we’ve had some success there. We were able to battle through some adversity in the heat races and just some racing situations in terms of where track went and how things fell which put us in a poor position to start the feature.

“I was really proud of our team for putting together a racecar that was able to make it way through the field and everything in the feature fell our way and we were able to make it up to a second-place run which we felt was solid given our deep starting position. Overall, a solid weekend for us especially after a disastrous opening night at Sunset Speedway. It’s great to rebound at Sauble with a strong finish and we’re looking forward to next week.”

Emms started off the night making his way forward in the second half of the first heat for a fourth-place finish. The second qualifier began well as he looked to challenge for the lead in the final laps, though contact resulted in a spin and placing seventh.

As a result, he would start near the back end of the field, though quickly began to make his way forward, taking the eighth spot with just seven laps on the board. He’d remain there until the first yellow flag at Lap 10, though utilized the restart to his advantage to battle for sixth.

Emms continued his climb, cracking the top-five on Lap 14, getting the fourth spot just five laps later. He was not done there, taking over the third spot on Lap 23. The race was not over there yet, with a late-race caution with 10 laps to go.

He quickly made the move on the restart to take over the runner-up spot. He would look to track down the leader for the top spot, though unable to do so, ultimately crossing the finish line in second.

The podium finish allows him to move up three spots in the standings, currently ranked seventh though just four points out of second.

“It definitely adds to the confidence,” he commented. “We definitely still have some work to do as there’s some incredibly fast racecars out there, and we know that there are a lot of cars that are able to hit it, meaning have a lot of speed. We know we have to continue to improve and we have to continue to work, but it’s great to see some of the work that we did in the off-season pay off with the car having the capability to drive where I wanted it. That was great.

“In terms of rolling the outside and inside, that’s going to be really important at Sunset Speedway as I find that’s a track similar to Sauble where the field is stacked up incredibly close, so that will be important coming into this weekend. Hopefully we do the similar thing in making our way around cars because we know with how our ordering in terms of the feature and heat races, that it’s going to be important to be able to pass cars. It’s great we have some speed because the competition is so tough, and hopefully we can keep the ball rolling.”

The next race on the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds presented by Just Foam It schedule is set for June 25 at Sunset Speedway. He has had success at Sunset Speedway previously, having scored a pair of victories in his five appearances at the Innisfil, Ontario oval.

“To be honest, it’s going to similar to Sauble where just like always we have to minimize mistakes and see where we end up in terms of speed this weekend,” he said. “Hopefully we’re able to cross our Ts and dot our Is this week in the shop, and that will hopefully put us in the ball park on Saturday evening. Sunset Speedway is one of those places where I just need to stay out of trouble, and go back to what I know, and make sure that we complete all the laps.

“Realistically, for me, it’s wide open in terms of Sunset. Like you highlighted, we’ve had some success there, but we’ve also had some misfortunes. Hopefully the racing Gods are on our side and things will prevail.”

A strong run would certainly be beneficial for Emms and the team right now, in knowing they’re in the middle of a stretch with four races across three weekends. Right after this coming weekend at Sunset, they will make the trip to Delaware Speedway for a double header on July 1 and July 2.

“It’s really disappointing the way they’ve structured our schedule with so many race weekends in a row, and then so many off-weekends back-to-back,” he admitted. “It makes it difficult on the teams financially to run that many races in a row and travel time, and just because we’re a traveling series and ordering parts, etc. It’s going to be really important to stay out of trouble, especially with COVID – getting parts is a stretch at times.

“It’s also important for us to go week-by-week and we just focus on what’s on hand, but have that preparation in that back of the mind that we have to go race the following week. Like I said, it’s unfortunate our schedule is laid out like that, but at the same time, it is manageable and doable so we’ll just do the best we can in keeping momentum, having solid finishes, learning each and every week, and continuing to better our program.”

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.

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

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