NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR ROOKIE
Earns Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Honors
youngest competitor in the veteran-laden NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour, 19-year-old Patrick Emerling
made his mark in 2011 and has clinched Sunoco Rookie
of the Year honors.
From Orchard Park, N.Y., Emerling has finished as
the top rookie in seven of 15 events this year and
has earned enough points against his fellow
first-year counterparts to secure the season-long
Sunoco Rookie of the Year award with one race
remaining on the schedule.
Emerling has compiled 137 points in the Sunoco
Rookie of the Year standings to out-distance a pair
of more experienced drivers from New York’s Long
Island. Bryon Chew, from Mattituck, has 121 points
while Patchogue’s Tom Rogers Jr. has 64.
“I had a lot of fun,” Emerling said of his first
year. “The competition is just way up there. It’s a
lot different from what I did before. I learned so
much along the way.”
Emerling came to the Whelen Modified Tour following
two years of Modified racing in Upstate New York. He
has posted five top-10 finishes and sits 16th in the
overall standings. Emerling also competed in the
first four races of the NASCAR Whelen Southern
Modified Tour season and earned a Sunoco Rookie of
the Race Award there as well.
The highlight of Emerling’s first campaign came at
Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August when he
rallied from two different spins to finish fifth in
the Whelen Modified-Whelen Southern Modified Tour
“Week after week was a learning experience,”
Emerling said. “It was pretty much my learning year.
We did the best we could.”
Emerling, Chew and Rogers will be recognized during
NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala events on Dec. 10
at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.
Chew, a former competitor in the NASCAR K&N Pro
Series East, has earned the Sunoco Rookie of the
Race Award in four of the 14 events in which he has
participated in his first season of open-wheel
competition. A championship driver from Riverhead
(N.Y.) Raceway’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Modified division, Rogers joined the Whelen Modified
Tour on a part-time basis this year and has finished
as the top rookie in half of the eight races in
which he has competed.
Emerling now joins the list of Sunoco Rookie of the
Year winners in the Whelen Modified Tour such as
eventual Tour champions Todd Szegedy (2002) and
Donny Lia (2003). Justin Bonsignore was the most
recent Sunoco Rookie of the Year honoree in 2010.
A total of seven drivers have earned points toward
Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors during the 2011
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, which will
conclude on Oct. 16 at Thompson (Conn.)
Source: Jason Cunningham / NASCAR