Emerling Victorious in The Jim Pierce Memorial 100 at the “Bull Ring” – PTD Exclusive

By SKIP HOWE

Perry NY – On Saturday night the Wyoming County International Speedway nicked named the Bull Ring, threw a party for forty of the best SST Modifieds in the Northeast and after all the qualifying heats and consi’s were complete, 28 remained to take on the cold 3/8ths mile banked oval and until the checkered flag flew it was a battle of the fittest. This race was renamed last year as the Jim Pierce Memorial 100 after the long time SST competitor suddenly passed away and its probably the only time racing competitors didn’t argue the decision.

Patrick Emerling was victorious when the lap counter hit 100, but it wouldn’t happen until after he went pit side on a caution for a new shoe and a penalty that put him at the end of the lead pack for rough riding. The accusation was he continuously was pushing the second running car up the race track.

“It wasn’t something I intended to do or meant to do on purpose,” Emerling said. “The track was cold and I think we all had a problem staying on the low side.  It came down to the track making a call whether we liked it or not, in the end we got the win and we are pretty happy with that.”

It was Emerling and Wayne Baker who brought the field to the green, with Baker taking the early lead from the outside position. When the field crossed the line for the first time Baker was still out front with Emerling, Rusty Smith, Andy Jankowiak and Rick Knapp, the 2018 Bull Ring Track Champion rounding out the top five.

The top five would only see one change through the first nine circuits and that would be Jankowiak got around Smith for the third spot. On the next lap we would see the first lead change as Emerling got around Baker and the guy on the move fighting through traffic from his seventh starting spot was TJ Potrzebowski moved into fourth sending Smith to fifth and Knapp back to six.

On lap 13 the first caution flew as Billy Ray Pruitt and Gary Coons got together at the exit of turn two. Onn the restart Pruitt and Tim Nyes came together putting Billy Ray on the hook and to the pits and he would be done for the night. The top five on the restart would remain the same, but on lap 16 the yellow flew one more time as Joe Evans came to a stop on the inside of turn four which sent Tim Nyes and Sherry Hogan into spins to avoid the stopped Evans ride.

Racing resumed and saw the top five fight back and forth for position between Baker, Smith and Tony Hanbury. Neal Dietz and Potrzebowski running six and seventh. Those drivers would remain in that running order until lap 28 when Dietz took to the outside and got around both Hanbury and Baker eventually settling into the fourth spot. On lap 32 Dietz would get shuffled back to six as Hanbury got underneath to take over fourth and Smith used the same move to take over fifth. On the next circuit Hanbury used the low side to take over the runner up spot pushing Jankowiak back to third. Dietz returned to the top five taking over fourth Smith moved up to fifth and that pushed Baker back to six.

Things seemed to calm down just a bit until lap 39 when Hanbury made a move to the outside of Emerling down the front stretch and entering turn one the two touched sending Hanbury hard into the outside wall, the incident brought out the red as a lengthy cleanup was needed and the safety crew needed to make sure Hanbury was okay and give him time to collect his thoughts and exit his 1H.

When the smoked cleared a unhappy Hanbury, with helmet and Hans Device in hand made his way down the front stretch to a sitting Emerling, after reaching the 07 Hanbury showed his displeasure with Emerling as he began slamming his helmet and Hans off the 07 roof and wind screen. The melee only lasted a few minutes as the safety crew quickly got Hanbury away and showed him the entrance to the pit area.

As the cars started moving the lineup was given over the one-way radio and that’s when Emerling was sent to the rear, but first it was a stop to the pit area for new shoes. With the shake up the top five were Jankowiak, Baker, Barber, Zach Curran and Alan Bookmiller. When the green came back out Jankowiak quickly got on the gas to take the lead Baker in tow.

A shake up to the top five began on lap 43 as Potrzebowski regained a top five position taken over third and for the first time Kevin Timmerman took over fifth for his first visit up front. For the next 10 laps the top five would remain the same, until Timmerman got pushed back to six as Potrzebowski moved up quickly and took over third and Emerling began to put the pressure on as he regained spot number five.

On lap 57 Emerling moved up to second, Smith moved up to third, Baker was fourth, Potrzebowski was fifth and Timmerman sat six. That running order stayed the same until lap 75 that’s when Timmerman took over fifth sending TJ backwards once again.

On lap 86 Emerling got around Jankowiak to take the top spot. Smith, Baker and TJ rounded out the top five and that would be how they would cross the line at lap 100.

Emerling would win his first Jim Pierce Memorial 100.

“I gotta start by saying I feel bad for Tony, but that was a racing deal. I felt a bump and all of a sudden, he was in the wall which is a tough way to end the night. My guys and this whole team gave me a great car today, so when they sent me to the rear on that re-start we decided to come in for tires and that was a great call. The way the track kept getting racey and I knew if we were going to get the win we were going to need tires, as there was a lot of good cars to pass,” Emerling said.

Jankowiak ended up in the second position at the finish after leading laps in the event.

“We had a good car, but on the re-starts I hit the gas and it felt like I had four flat tires,” cited Jankowiak.  “I knew that new tires were the way to go late in the race, but when your leading it is tough to give up the track position and that inside was working pretty well for us, so we got what we got and we have to be happy with it I guess.”

Smith was in the mix throughout the afternoon with his day ending in third before being disqualified for refusing tech.

“Of course we wanted to get the big win, especially when you only come here twice a year,” cited Smith.  “The car was tight as I think many were, so we ran were we could and moved up when we could. We wanted to get the best finish we could and third is what we got, we aren’t real happy with it, but this whole team did the best they could and gave it their all, so we will go home, but we won’t be hanging our heads.”

News and Notes: TJ Potrzebowski was DQ for a illegal tire change with Smith’s DQ coming in post race tech…

Kevin Timmerman who originally finished six ended up finishing fourth after the DQ’s. This was Timmerman’s first ever trip to WCIS and he was pretty happy with his performance…

It has yet to be confirmed or denied, but I have heard that Rick Knapp may have a teammate next season, maybe at the WCIS banquet Knapp will let us know what’s going on with this rumor.