Emerling’s history-making performance came in just his third race at the Last Great Colosseum and third race in the series’ 10 events this season.
The pole was also just the third of his career that began with five full-time years on the tour before going part time last year.
“It feels awesome,” said Emerling. “It’s incredible to unload with an awesome race car and take advantage of it.”
View the photo gallery
The 24-year-old Orchard Park, N.Y., native survived a pair of red flags and five cautions overall that forced nearly one-third of the race to be run under caution. Only 15 of 26 starting cars in the grid were running when the race went back green following the second red flag on Lap 101.
“This place is pretty draining mentally and physically. We just kept calm through the delays,” added Emerling.
Defending race champion Eric Goodale brought out the final caution when he lost an engine between turns three and four.
When racing resumed, it was a two-horse race between Emerling and four-time series champion Doug Coby.
Coby had a pair of prime chances to get around Emerling in the final 30 laps. The leader found the going slippery after the clean-up in turn four and was nearly overtaken in the corner on Lap 119 and Lap 120.
“The bottom was the way to go, so I tried to stay down there, but I got really, really squirrely after that clean-up,” Emerling said. “I was fortunate to collect it up.”
Lap traffic created Coby’s next chance with contact coming between the two front runners before Emerling emerged with the lead intact.
“He (Coby) got at my left rear bar,” continued Emerling. “If he had gotten further, he would have had the position and he would have gotten me. He was just able to get underneath there, and I just held the bottom and he backed out for me.”
Coby never got back within striking distance the rest of the way as Emerling drove away to the victory with Coby settling for second and Justin Bonsignore finishing third.
“To win at Bristol, it takes the words right out of your mouth,” said Emerling. “It’s just ... the best win ever.”