WATCH LIVE: PASS Super Late Models at Lee USA Speedway
The excitement in Ramstrom’s voice was easily noticeable this week, as he makes his first start since World Series weekend at Thompson Speedway seven months ago. In addition to the usual offseason work for the small family operation, Ramstrom has also been busy with the latest expansion within the family itself.
“It’s been a very long winter. We sold one of our cars at the end of last year. So, we’ve been focusing on the one car, My fiancé recently had a baby, so we’ve been very busy with that over the offseason, along with our older daughter who’s 14 months. It’s been busy, but we’re ready to racing on Sunday for sure,” Ramstrom told Speed51.
Just over an hour from home, Lee USA is a personal favorite of Ramstrom despite missing out on victory lane in seven career PASS starts there. However, he has never finished outside the Top 10 in a race he’s entered, being a runner-up twice in 2015 and 2016.
Lee is one of my better tracks for sure, we typically run well there. I’d say it’s one of my top five tracks. It’s very racy and a challenging track. There isn’t much of an outside groove, so you really got to produce on the bottom line quickly and effectively, and even then it tends to lose grip. You’re always struggling for forward bite, but we’ve gotten a good handle on it. – Derek Ramstrom
Like all experienced drivers, Ramstrom knows the key to being in the running for victory at ‘New Hampshire’s Center of Speed’ is making sure the tires survive Lee’s notoriously abrasive surface to make a final assault for the checkers in the late laps.
“You need to take your time, be patient, and I think that’s something we excel at. If you can start well, and keep that forward bite, you got a good chance at being successful in the end.”
Between his prior experience and the extra prep time, Ramstrom feels they have what it takes to finally get that first PASS trophy at Lee, despite the series being home to some of the nation’s hottest Late Model drivers. Including, the same young gun who selected #1 in the Speed51 Short Track Draft on Wednesday night, Derek Griffith.
“I sure hope so. Derek Griffith is on fire right now, everyone in the Northeast and the whole country knows that for heaven’s sakes. He’ll be a top competitor. Johnny Clark and D.J. Shaw too. We’ll be keeping an eye on those guys too. But, we should be good. Little rusty, but shouldn’t be a problem.”
There is also an extra eagerness to just win any race for Ramstrom, with his last two wins coming in PASS events at Hickory Motor Speedway in April 2019 and November 2018. His last win in New England, October 2017 at Thompson.
“Yeah, it’s been a while. We are eager to get after it, one of best friends Zach is the crew chief going forward, so that’s a big change up for us. A lot of new and interesting things, we’ll see how it shakes out.”
See the PASS Super Late Models in action this Sunday at Lee USA Speedway or watch live at 2:15pm ET on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51