At the young age of 15, Spencer Davis has never been one to run out of energy. The Dawsonville, Georgia native stays busy during race weekends, sometimes even racing three different races at three different race tracks during a three day span.
Northeast Super Late Model racer Derek Ramstrom of West Boylston, Massachusetts is similar to Davis in the fact that he’s never been one to shy away from driving any type of race car. This year, in addition to competing in a number of Super Late Model touring series events, Ramstrom made his debut in a family-owned Tour-Type Modified on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
On November 1, Davis and Ramstrom will face the tough task of competing in two long distance races in one day. Both drivers plan to compete in the 125-lap Tour-Type Modified and 150-lap Pro All Star Series (PASS) South Super Late Model races during the John Blewett III North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway (NC).
Davis will pilot the Hillbilly Racing Coors Light 21 Means 21 No. 79 entry in the Modified event before strapping into the Spencer Davis Motorsports No. 129 in the PASS South feature. Ramstrom will be driving his family-owned No. 35 Modified and will be behind the wheel of the Peter Petit-owned No. 7 Super Late Model.
“It’s going to be fun, for sure,” said Davis. “I’m used to doing stuff like this and it’s going to be good to get back in the Late Model before the (Snowball) Derby. It’s not back-to-back races like it was at SpeedFest and Speedweeks. Running all those races back-to-back, night after night like that really helped me grow as a racecar driver and helped build up my endurance to run these longer races and double-header races. I know I can get it done.”
Ramstrom’s 2014 schedule wasn’t quite as hectic as Davis’, but running both the Super Late Model and Modified kept him busy this season both on and off the track. He recently ran two features in two days during the World Series of Stock Car Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) and hopes that experience, as well as a 400-lap weekend back in 2006 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME), will have him prepared to compete in both events on Saturday afternoon.
“I should be fine,” said Ramstrom when asked about the fatigue associated with running two races in one day. “Way back I ran an Outlaw division in PASS North, probably back in ’06, I ran the Beech Ridge 300 and the 100-lap Outlaw race in the same day so I think I’ll be fine. I’m not too worried about being tired.”
Heading into the prestigious event, Davis has high expectations for both teams. His impressive resume in the PASS South Super Late Models and the momentum he’s built up driving in the David Hill-owned Modified have him excited for the weekend.
“Our expectations are real high because last time here in the PASS car we led almost the whole race, but had some bad luck at the end and finished seventh,” said Davis. “The momentum we’ve had with Mr. David (Hill) and the 79 Modified leads us to believe we’ve got a good shot to win the Modified race as well. I think we’ll have two cars to beat in the two races.”
Having just a handful of starts in a Tour-Type Modified, Ramstrom has realistic expectations heading into the Modified portion of the North-South Shootout, but believes his team will be in a position to compete for a top-10 finish on race day.
“I think we’ll be competitive,” said Ramstrom. “I have heard that you don’t need a lot of motor here and if you do have a lot of motor you will end up smoking your tires, so I think we’re in a good situation and we’ll be alright. At Thompson, we were behind the eight-ball because we were down on horsepower but at a track like this I think we’ll be alright.
“I just need more seat time in the car and any race I can get behind the wheel in a Modified then I’m going to be at it unless we’re running the Super (Late Model) somewhere. I need the seat time. I’m still not 100% confident in the car, so any race that comes up for Modifieds I’m going to be in it.”
Ramstrom enters the PASS South event on Saturday as one of the hottest Super Late Model drivers in the Northeast, and the country for that matter. He has won three straight races including the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge, the DAV Fall Classic 100 at Seekonk Speedway (MA) and the Granite State Pro Stock Series portion of the Thompson World Series.
Although he’ll be in a completely different car, the Massachusetts driver is hoping that he’ll be able to use the momentum he’s built up to record a solid finish at the North-South Shootout.
“Without a doubt, we do have a lot of momentum but it’s really tough to say what our expectations are at this point because I don’t know what I’m dealing with,” said Ramstrom. “The setup will be a little different and I’ve never driven his (Petit’s) cars, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge to run competitively but I think we’ll figure it out.”
With some of the biggest names in Modified racing like Matt Hirschman, Ryan Preece, Burt Myers, Chuck Hossfeld, and Ron Silk entered into the event, as well as some of the best Late Model drivers from the North and South in the field for the PASS South race, both drivers know that the weekend will give them a good shot to beat the best in the game.
Davis, who traveled north to compete on the NWMT four times in 2014, especially looks forward to having some of the biggest stars of the Northern Tour visiting a track he frequents while competing on the Southern Tour.
“I love going up there and racing against those guys,” Davis said about racing against the stars of the Northern Modified scene. “They’re all the big names in Modified racing. Everyone from first to 15th in every race are big names in the Modified world. To get them to come down here and race on our turf makes me think we can give them a run for their money.
“Hopefully one of the Southern drivers can win and hopefully it’s us.”
A who’s-who of Modified racing have taken victories in the North-South Shootout since its first running in 2003 at North Carolina’s Concord Speedway before moving to Caraway in 2011. Northampton, Pennsylvania’s Matt Hirschman leads the list with five Shootout victories. NASCAR Modified champions Donny Lia (2004), Burt Myers (2008 and 2009) and Ryan Preece (2009) have also visited victory lane at the North-South Shootout over the years. All winners followed the late John Blewett III there, as the New Jersey great won the inaugural North-South Shootout in 2003.
Also part of the live 51 TV broadcast of the North-South Shootout will be the Modified last-chance races, USAC Midgets, the SouthEast Limited Late Models and more. Plus, fans won’t want to miss the always-popular kids’ pedal car race, which will also air live on 51 TV.
51 TV’s broadcast on Saturday, November 1st can be purchased for $19.99 by following this link: http://speed51.com/51livetv-events/
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51