Derek Ramstom is prepared to do something this upcoming racing season that he’s never committed to doing before: chase the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) National Championship for Super Late Models. The driver from West Boylston, Massachusetts will continue his drive towards that championship this upcoming weekend when he heads to Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) for the Easter Bunny 150.
“I enjoy going down South. It’s always a good time and the competition is great,” Ramstrom told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The tracks, a lot of them have more banking and the racing is more fun. You can always learn stuff, too. All the teams down south, they’re in the mix so they know all the best stuff. It’s good.”
Ramstrom, a six-time PASS North winner, will be searching for his first career PASS South win Saturday at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR stars.” He hasn’t raced at Hickory since finishing 16th in a PASS South race back in 2008, but believes his team is strong enough to be in contention at the end of 150 laps.
“It’d be great to win at a place like Hickory,” said the 24-year-old racer. “I’m due for a win in PASS. I haven’t won in a while. We’re always running well, always a top-10 if not top-five car so there’s no reason we can’t go down there and be a top-five car.”
In February, Ramstrom led more laps than any other driver during the season-opening Winter Meltdown at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC). He finished fourth in that race and believes the strong run will give his team momentum heading into the Easter Bunny 150.
“You’ve got to go in there confident and feeling like you know what you’re doing,” said Ramstrom. “Hopefully the team performs well and everything just falls into place. There’s a lot of luck in racing, but you’ve still got to go out there and perform at your best. I think we can do that.”
Since he started racing Super Late Models in 2006, Ramstrom has done everything with his family-owned operation. His crew chief Jeff Belyea hails from nearby Seekonk, Massachusetts and the rest of his team consists of a local group of family and friends. Ramstrom says that fact alone makes it much more rewarding when they do experience success.
“We’re not a massive, huge funded team,” he said. “We don’t spend an incredibly large amount of money. We don’t throw tires at the car every single practice. We just try to conserve. But it feels good when you can go out and run with a Kyle Busch Motorsports. It’s just more of a laid back environment because you don’t have that stress or worry about being kicked off this team or something.”
At the age of 20, Ramstrom is also beginning to realize that his chances of making it to the top three levels of NASCAR may be coming to an end. But that is something that he is perfectly fine with.
“When we were running the K&N Pro Series, I thought maybe I could try to weave my way into Nationwide or something but the plans kind of fell short,” said Ramstrom. “But there’s nothing wrong with that, honestly. I love short track racing and I’ll probably do it all my life. I do it as a hobby. I enjoy it, my dad enjoys it and it’s just what we do.”
Ramstrom will continue enjoying life as a short track racer this weekend in Hickory, North Carolina. Easter Bunny 150 weekend kicks off Friday with practice before a full slate of qualifying and feature action on Saturday, March 26.
Fans unable to make the trip to North Carolina can watch Ramstrom and the rest of the Pro All Stars Series field via a live video stream on Speed51.com. Video tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com