New Plans: Sammy Rameau To Focus On Tri-Track Series In ‘21; Run Limited Whelen Mod Tour And Open Shows

Sammy Rameau celebrates victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series event last August at Monadnock Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

The 2019 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year is stepping away from running the series full-time in 2021. 

Sammy Rameau said his family owned team will cut back its schedule in 2021, putting a focus on racing for a championship with the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. 

The 18-year old Rameau, of Westminster, Mass., said the team will run all six events on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series schedule in 2021. The team will also run a selected amount of Whelen Modified Tour events and Tour Type Open Shows at Thompson Speedway and Stafford Speedway. 

“The Whelen Modified Tour has come to a point where there’s so much travel,” Rameau said. “It’s kind of like, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series and the Thompson and Stafford Open shows have more money in the purse if not the same after all is said and done, and when the race is over I can go home and all my guys can go home at the end of the night and sleep in our own beds and see our families. We’re not gone for three or four days to do a race. It just seems like a better deal to me. We’re still going to participate, but it will be a limited deal. I don’t see myself being a full-time [Whelen Modified Tour] driver until I’m done with school.”

Rameau recently completed his first semester at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, where he recorded a 3.9 GPA. He is pursuing a degree in civil engineering and said he expects to follow up his Bachelor’s degree studies by chasing a Master’s degree. 

“We’ve been racing like crazy for the past 13 years,” Rameau said. “It’s time to just take one step back and do 10-12 races instead of doing 20 races.” 

The Tri-Track Open Modified Series will run six events in 2021 with two races at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (May 1, Aug. 14), two races at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. (May 22, July 24) and two races at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway (June 30, Oct. 23). 

“The Tri-Track to me, [series managing partners] Ed Bennett and Wayne Darling just do a great job with it,” Rameau said. “Their officials are just as top notch as the Whelen Tour. I just think it’s a better deal because of how local the stuff is. We end up chasing the same purse an hour down the road versus going 10 hours down the road. Yes, the Whelen Tour still has signature events that you want to race. They’re going to three Cup [Series] tracks this year, which is awesome.” 

Rameau got his first Tri-Track Open Modified Series victory last August at Monadnock Speedway. Of the top-15 drivers in the 2020 Whelen Modified Tour standings, 11 are expected to run full-time on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series in 2021, including reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore.

“The Tri-Track is going to be just as tough as the [Whelen Modified Tour] is,” Rameau said. “The competition that’s going to be competing in the Tri-Track Series next year is just as good as the Whelen Modified Tour. You think about it, you’ve got Justin Bonsignore in Jimmy Paige’s car now there. You have a bunch of the best guys on the Tour that will be running Tri-Track now for all their races. And anyone who runs for the championship on that series, they come with top notch stuff just like they would on the [Whelen Modified Tour]. It’s the same thing, to me it’s just more local.” 

Rameau said the team will definitely run the Whelen Modified Tour events at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Richmond (Va.) Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He said they’ll likely choose one more Whelen Modifed Tour event to run. 

“We sat down with our guys and went over things and we just decided with the Whelen Tour that we’ll just do the cool one’s,” Rameau said. “Going to Stafford with the Tour three times, that might get a little boring, but I think the Monadnock’s and the Seekonk’s and the Star Speedway’s are more my types of tracks.” 

Rameau ran one Whelen Modified Tour event in 2018. He ran all 16 events in 2019 and all nine events in 2020. He finished 12th in the series standings in 2020.

Rameau said the team will also choose a selected amount of Tour Type Open Modified events at Stafford Speedway and Thompson Speedway. Stafford Speedway has four Open Modified 80 events scheduled for 2021. Thompson Speedway, under the direction of operators Cris Michaud and Tom Mayberry, will have six Tour Type Open Modified events, including the return of the Thompson 300 as part of the Sunoco World Series in October. Rameau said the team will definitely run the Thompson 300 event and will likely also run the 125-lap Icebreaker event at Thompson in April. 

Comments

  1. 🌈🦄2020 says

    That’s true. The tour at Stafford is usually boring.

  2. Travel seems to be the overwhelming reason with most of these decisions. Like I have said before between tri track, the opens, some regional Nascar tour events and MRS, a team can race more than ever without logging a bunch of miles on the Motor home. Nascar had to see this coming when they released their schedule for 2021.

  3. wmass01013 says

    csg, Wilson has to put a decent schedule up of 12 to 17 races to be up to par to SPONSORS, if Thompson says no, Seekonk No, Mad Dog, no Lee no, Wall No, Wilson has to go to tracks that say YES, is he supposed to to say welll since we cant have all these races close to CT then 0k 6 race TOUR??

  4. As cgs said, it seems like WMT teams that are switching to Tri Track list the amount of travel as a big part of their decision. Running Tri Track also allows them to race some select open shows as well

  5. The team is traveling. To Richmond and Martinsville. They’re doing it because those races at those tracks are a big deal.
    Good for young Sammy. Fitting racing into his life plan prioritizing his education is the smartest choice in the long run. We can’t have enough quality engineers and it sounds like Sammy has the potential to be a cut above.

  6. WMass why are all the tracks saying no to Nascar? If running a Whelen tour race isnt perceived as a profitable venture for the tracks perhaps Nascar has to make some changes to make the shows more desirable for the tracks. It appears the only thing Nascar did was increase their geographical range in which to schedule races which costs the teams more money, Teams are starting to look at alternatives for which there are many within the region at significantly less travel. From a fans view, it appears as though Nascar is losing favor in the region. Perhaps they rebound when and if we get through this pandemic but 2020 and 2021 dont appear to be the best years for the Nascar tour.

    I am surprised Nascar hasnt gone to a WOO platinum driver style of program to lock in their drivers to their series and discourage participation in competing series/events. WoO offers financial incentives for a select group of drivers to race at all their events in exchange the drivers can not support competing series events withing a short time period and geographical distance to WOO shows. Honestly not sure how well it would work given most of Nascars schedule is outside the region for which competing races are held. Tri track does a good job of working around Nascars schedule.

  7. Seems like the WMT guys are starting to abandon ship.

  8. Interesting that so many now talk about running “for Tri-track championship”. Until recently, the focus was on individual TT events.

  9. csg, the TRACKS are saying No to NASCAR for many reasons, BUT the biggest is CALLED this lil Virus that has affected the world since MARCH! NASCAR has to put a schedule out NOT say wellll maybe Mad dog in june or MAYBE Wall in JULY, tracks wont commit to a FEE when they dont know EXACT Limitations on crowds, sure the 75 team says NO when in past years they were with 50 to 150 miles of 90% of the races, now OSWEGO, J TOWN, RICHMOND, LANCASTER AND Martinsville are 300 plus mile hauls so they say we will do NE RACES, EVERYONE says NASCAR is greedy but if they LOWER fees and pay lower purses teams say NO THANX AND AGAIN if said mentioned tracks want to PAY the fee to host A WHELEN race is WILSON supposed to say NO THANX my base of teams is in Ct??????

  10. Fast Eddie says

    It will be interesting to see where the “base group” of WMT teams is located this year. It’s been Connecticut/New England for years, but I think that is about to change to NY/NJ/PA this year.

  11. Honestly I hope the Nascar tour does well. None of the other modified series has the history or offers the same exposure to their competitors. With Nascar you can see our Modified drivers racing on the same track as Nascars cup division. Some of the tours best drivers have found their way into racing at Nascars highest level. Nascar offers some TV presence through online and taped delay coverage which benefit the teams and their sponsors. Nascar does some things well, but in any organization some decisions might be questioned.

    I agree it is disappointing that Nascar isn’t working more with tracks given state mandated limitations tracks find themselves in. Last year according to some reports, Nascar scheduled reduced purse races at non Nascar tracks but wouldn’t or couldn’t do the same for some of their core tracks. If this is true, it just seems like a bad business practice. I think reducing the races in the region where the core of their drivers and fans are located may be looked back upon as one of those questionable decisions. Whether or not they were forced to do so because of things outside of their control or not. You have to acknowledge, the tour has less presence in NE this year then last year or any other recent year. The original 2020 schedule had about 50 percent of their races in NE, 2021 they are down to 35 percent.. Last year they found a way to get 7 shows in NE. This year they currently have 5 scheduled, They lost their biggest race NHMS 200 and their most historic track Thompson.

    You don’t have to look back to far to see how expanding the geographical footprint of a regional racing series works out. How is the Busch North division doing now that they are Arca Menards East series? They cancelled a race at Thompson a couple years ago because of expected car count.. They cancelled a race at NHMS last year. I don’t recall the reason they gave. Nascar went from a pretty successful regional series to no races in the New England area in about 10 -15 year time span. From a car count perspective it would be tough to argue the success of such a move. I hope this is not the direction they are heading for the Whelen Mod tour.

    The tour will be fine. The NE races should have good fields. TT will work around them ensuring good fields at both series. I dont think the Whelen Car count/competition level will be as high as years past following the entire schedule. I look forward to watching a few races on TV. Maybe I get to a show at Stafford or NHMS. In my opinion some of the decisions made by Nascar in 2020/2021 may do irreparable harm to the tours prominence in the Northeast. The good news is there is alternatives which may be able to fill the void if Nascar continues on this path. Some might argue the alternatives are just as good as the tour especially if more and more Whelen tour drivers decide to run the alternative. Who knows, maybe Nascar weathers the pandemic storm and comes right back to prominence after. It just doesnt seem like the most likely outcome.

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