Story By: DAVE BUCHANAN / LANCASTER SPEEDWAY – LANCASTER, NY – Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. continued his hot start to the 2018 season with his third win of the season in the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman at Lancaster National Speedway. The win was Emerling’s fourth overall at Lancaster this season with one Race of Champions Modified Series victory to go along with his three Sportsman triumphs.
Emerling started 10th in the 18-car field for the 35-lap feature. Alan Bookmiller and Eddie Hawkins shared the front row for the initial start. Hawkins made his first visit of the season to Lancaster, and the Marion, N.Y. driver started his night with a win in his heat race, and then jumped out to the early lead in the feature.
Hawkins led through the early stages of the race while Emerling worked his way to the front of the field. Emerling entered the top five by lap 7, and then moved into the runner-up position on lap 13. He then caught Hawkins, and was about to make a move for the lead on lap 16 when the caution flag was displayed for a multi-car incident that included Joe Evans, Matt Druar and Dave Kozlowski.
The ensuing restart gave Emerling the opportunity he needed to take the lead. He got by Hawkins on the restart to move into first place.
Emerling maintained his lead through several late-race restarts and was able to pull away to score the win. He has won all three points-paying Sportsman features at Lancaster so far in 2018. Emerling dedicated the victory to the memory of his grandmother, who passed away two weeks ago.
Hawkins finished second for his best-ever run at Lancaster. Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. was credited with third place. Fiebelkorn was also making his first start of the season at Lancaster in a brand new car, and just like Hawkins, he won his heat race. Mark Pennell finished fourth. Shawn Nye finished fifth after running most of the race inside the top three, and overcoming late race contact with Andy Jankowiak.
In other X-Press Signs Stock Car Series action, Andy Cryan of Buffalo extended his win streak to five races in the Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks with the most hard-fought win of the streak. Cryan battled his way from the 11th starting position as the Street Stocks featured a season-high field of 20 cars. It took him until lap 19 of the 25-lap feature to make his way into the runner-up position.
Mike Dalfonso, Jr. had led virtually every lap until this point after starting on the pole. Dalfonso was in the hunt for his first career Street Stock win. Dalfonso and Cryan battled side-by-side for the lead in the closing laps despite Cryan dealing with the right side of his hood flapping up in the breeze after breaking a hood pin earlier in the race.
The race was decided with less than two laps to go when Max Northem attempted to pass Dalfonso and Cryan with a three-wide maneuver. Northem and Dalfonso made contact going into turn one and it allowed Cryan to take over the lead for good. Cryan held on for the final laps to pick up his fifth in a row. Ken Maltby finished second after winning his heat race earlier in the night. John Carlson was credited with third place. Jeff Szafraniec and Tim Welshans rounded out the top five.
Kenny Hejna of Buffalo picked up his first win at Lancaster since 2009 in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders. Hejna quickly drove from the eighth starting position to take lead from Charles Palmer on lap 5 of the 25-lap feature, and then drove away to open a large lead on the rest of the field.
4-Cylinder points leader Dan Dressel finished second. Dave Brunka, Joe Brunka and Jason Anasiewicz finished in the top five.
The NYPA TQ Midgets made their second appearance of the season at Lancaster, and Dave Wollaber of Lockport, N.Y. won the 20-lap feature. Wollaber looked to be en route to a second place finish to defending series champion Kyle Hutchinson when Hutchinson suffered a mechanical issue with five laps to go. Wollaber took over the lead and drove on to the victory. Andy Nye finished second to Wollaber. AJ Hessler, Vinny Christiano, Jr. and Mark Schulz rounded out the top five.
Next Saturday is Retro Night at Lancaster National Speedway for the X-Press Signs Stock Car Series. Fans are encouraged to wear their old-school racing shirts, jackets and hats. The Race of Champions Late Models will join Lancaster’s three weekly home track divisions, plus a vintage Modified exhibition race. There will be special “retro pricing” at the concession stand with $1 hot dogs and popcorn and $2 draft beer from when the front gates open until racing starts at 6:30 p.m.
About Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway: Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, WNY’s Premier Motorsports and Event Facility, is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 1/2-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
VP RACING FUELS SPORTSMAN
Heat Winners: Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr., Eddie Hawkins, Owen Bednasz
Feature: PATRICK EMERLING, Eddie Hawkins, Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr., Mark Pennell, Shawn Nye, Owen Bednasz, Joe Evans, Jake Vernon, John Barber, Tony Carbone, Dave Kozlowski, Scott Hossfeld, Travis Spalding, Alan Bookmiller, Matt Druar, Jayme Thompson, Leo Becker DQ: Andy Jankowiak
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS
Heat Winners: Tommy Wentland, Ken Maltby, Garrett Cleversley
Feature: ANDY CRYAN, Ken Maltby, John Carlson, Jeff Szafraniec, Tim Welshans, Mike Dalfonso, Jr., Jerome Hruby, Garrett Cleversley, Dave Vona, Tommy Wentland, Jerry Kozmowski, Ted Welshans, Don Sitarski, Ryan Rogers, Kyle Sharpe, Scott Soos, Robert Palmer, Chris Powers DNS: Rick Meyers DQ: Max Northem
ROAMING BUFFALO 4-CYLINDERS
Heat Winners: Charles Palmer, Dave Brunka
Feature: KENNY HEJNA, Dan Dressel, Dave Brunka, Joe Brunka, Jason Anasiewicz, Chris Pennell, Kayla Joseph, Tim Durfy, Driar Dils, Dave Evans, Ryan Palmer, Chris Eagan, Charles Palmer, Andy Danielwicz, Scott Fritz DNS: Josh Schosek
NYPA TQ MIDGETS
Heat Winners: Kyle Hutchinson, Chad Haywood
Feature: DAVE WOLLABER, Andy Nye, AJ Hessler, Vinny Christiano, Jr., Mark Schulz, Kevin Wilson, Ted Jones, Jr., Tony Patrea, Jamie Pew, Sean McNamara, Tim Nies, Kyle Hutchinson, Chad Haywood, Erik Musto, Pat Smith, Vinny Christiano III, Cameron Ruggiero, Arik McGruder, Andy Jankowiak