Samuel Charland: A Man on the Move – DTD Exclusive

By:  Don Simpson

Samuel Charland has been a rising star in Dirt Track racing over the past few years.

In 2021, Charland was crowned champion in the Sportsman Modified division at the Autodrome Drummond, an impressive feat if you consider he only began a full season on the dirt track that year.

Charland has rapidly established himself as one of the top drivers in the sport due to his impressive driving skills and competitive spirit.

Including winning the Sportsman Track Championship at the Autodrome Granby this past season, his second championship on the dirt track in two years.

Besides winning the championship at Granby, Charland went on to finish second both at Le RPM Speedway and Autodrome Drummond.

The road to success was long and arduous, and he had to rise through the ranks of asphalt racing in Quebec, Ontario, and several of the Northern States.

Charland began racing karts on asphalt circuits in Quebec and Ontario when he was seven years old.

By 2007, Charland was competing in the Sportsman asphalt division and would carry on competing for the following seven years, occasionally interrupting his racing endeavor due to other commitments.

In 2014, Charland and his dad began racing full-time and committed to a long-term racing program after his father attended a race that year, which sparked their interest in racing at a more serious level

The fruit of their labor would come to fruition in 2017 when Charland captured the NASCAR Late Model Vice Championship at the Autodrome. Chaudière. That same year he has crowned the Sportsman division Québec champion.

In 2018, Charland won the Late Model championship at the Autodrome Chaudière. This was a huge accomplishment for the driver and the team. The team had worked hard all season to secure the top spot and capture the win with a mere 34 points over their rivals.

Following that, in 2019, he triumphed once again at the Autodrome Montmagny and Autodrome Chaudière, winning the Late Model championship at both tracks.

As part of the 2019 racing season, Chartrand took a serious leap into Dirt Track racing. This was not Charland’s first time racing on Dirt. In 2018, he competed in Sportsman Modifieds at the Autodrome Granby as part of the Big Block Show. He also raced in the STR Class on Dirt for a few races back in 2010

The team was planning to switch to Dirt Track racing full-time in 2020, but COVID and a fire at their race shop put a damper on racing in general, and the car and all the necessary parts were lost in the fire.

Charland continued to race, doing what he knew best, Asphalt racing. But he did get in a few Dirt events in that season, the most notable of which was at Autodrome Granby, where the car he was piloting hit the wall and burst into flames, not the ride he was expecting.

Things would turn around in 2021, and we would see an all-out assault on racing on Dirt with the purchase of two cars early in the year. Charland would get his first Dirt Car win in August, but more importantly, he would win the Autodrome Drummond Track championship for the Sportsman Modified.

Charland’s year in 2022 would be defined by the birth of his daughter, an anxious time for the young father. But this restlessness would turn into motivation on the track.

Charland went on to win the Sportsman Modified championship at the Granby Autodrome. He would also finish runner-up at both RPM Speedway and Autodrome Drummond.

Last season, Charland raced in the 358 Modified division in a few events, finishing on the podium in the season finale at the Autodrome Drummond. The best result was picking up the feature win at the Cornwall Motor Speedway on night one of the Canadian Super Dirt Weekend.

Two-thousand and twenty-two was a whirlwind season. Charland explains: “Last year was a difficult season. The birth of Zoe took a lot of time because she was premature, and that drained a lot of my energy.” But I gave it all at every race night. By the end of the year, I realized all good races produced good results. Yes, the season started off rough with poor results due to the handicap start, but everything fell into place after that to bring home a victory.

“With the championship at Granby and vice-championship at Drummondville, and RPM in addition to the Auclair Cup and nine victories in the Sportsman division, and our one victory in the 358 Modified at Cornwall. We could not have had a better season,” team crew chief Stephane Nadeau says of the season.

Charland has won two track championships, two seconds, and 11 feature wins in just two full seasons of full-time Dirt racing. What’s next for the young Quebec driver?

Team crew chief Stephane Nadeau: “For this year, we will run regularly at Granby, RPM, and Drummond, along with the big programs in Cornwall in 358. We will also run special Sportsman programs and hope to race five or six races in Big Block shows.”

Charland reiterates Stephane Nadeau’s views: “I think it will be a big year, with a lot of adaptation from the Sportsman Modifieds to the 358s, as the set-up is much different, plus the fact there are a lot of good drivers within this division. I will try to make three races each weekend to develop myself and make my mark as soon as possible. I hope to make some podium finishes and, with some luck, win another race. ”

This year will be busy for Samuel Charland , but if the previous few years are any indicators of what’s to come, he will leave his imprint in the next phase of his racing career.

Writer/ Photographer
Don Simpson