New England racing fans will have a familiar face to watch during the inaugural Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway. Derek Ramstrom of West Boylston, Massachusetts will make the trek north to Ontario, Canada this weekend to chase the $50,000 (CAD) top prize.
In recent years Ramstrom has established himself as one of the top “outlaw” drivers in Northeast Pro Stock/Super Late Models, often running just the big races and anything else that catches his attention. Ironically, Ramstrom passed on the Northeast’s biggest short track event, the Oxford 250, to go to Jukasa.
While Ramstrom has run in both Quebec and the Maritime provinces, this will be his first time going to the refurbished track just west of Niagara Falls.
“Without a doubt I’m excited. I’ve never seen the place, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it,” Ramstrom told Speed51.com. “We made the decision to go about two or three weeks ago. We ran at Oxford Plains Speedway, and we just ran terrible. We couldn’t figure it out at all, so we made a group decision to skip the 250, go to Canada, and try our luck up there.”
Since reopening in 2017, Jukasa has caught the attention of many drivers from both sides of the border. The big 5/8-mile oval is especially enticing to Ramstrom, who grew up on New England’s own big oval, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, where he scored three titles in the former Pro Stock division.
“I’ve been watching a lot of videos from there. Every video I’ve watched the racing seems very competitive and very fast,” Ramstrom explained. “It’s right up my alley. It looks great, I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.”
While running mostly around Super Late Model rules in recent years, Ramstrom has always run crate engines more commonly found in Pro Late Model racing. This, coupled with his history at Thompson, has Ramstrom believing that his No. 35 will be a threat to win at Jukasa.
“I think the rules play into our favor. I’ve been running crate motors since I was fourteen years old. We had a ton of success at Thompson Speedway with just a stock crate motor. I think we have a shot. We usually run well at big tracks with crate motors.”
Despite the confidence, Ramstrom faces a mountain of unknowns besides Jukasa itself. The biggest being the Canadian majority that he will face off against. With none of his familiar competitors making the trip with him, Ramstrom will have to be on top of his game.
“To be honest, I think I’ve only raced with Bubba Pollard and a few others on that list,” Ramstrom admitted. “I don’t even know half of them. I wish there was more PASS guys from the Northeast that I know and trust; racing against them I know what they’re going to do. It’s going to be new and interesting to say the least. It’s pretty far from the house. We got to race into the show, which is always a little scary. But I think we got a shot and we’ll be very competitive.”
Race fans from the Northeast and beyond can watch the Canadian Short Track Nationals this Saturday and Sunday from Jukasa Motor Speedway on Speed51.com’s live pay-per-view broadcast. Click here to order now
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos