There are few high-pressure situations in NASCAR than a late restart, especially on short tracks like Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee with cars packed like sardines in high banking.
Ty Majeski, a driver from Seymour, Wisconsin, who has raced multiple races at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, found himself facing off as the rest of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fields halted with 12 laps at the UNOH 200 last Thursday. Majeski’s only 40 start in the series, but the 28-year-old played it like a veteran.
“We found ourselves late in the races to win a lot,” Majeske said. “I’ve probably been in this particular spot over 100 times. It felt like a reboot on another short track leading the race 10 laps ago… I won races in this position and lost races. Every time you lose one you learn something and look at Take back what you could have done differently next time.”
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Majeski – five-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion and multiple-time Oktoberfest winner in West Salem – took the #66 Road Ranger Toyota Tundra from ThorSport to victory lane to claim his first win in a NASCAR National Event.
Majeski struggled to find a foothold in his first five years on the NASCAR National Theater, as 2022 was technically his first full-time season. His first ride with Roush Fenway Racing in the Xfinity Series ended when the team closed the Xfinity Store. In 2020, Majeski was released from his Truck Series contract at Niece Motorsports before the end of the season.
In 2021, his former observer turned general manager of ThorSport, and David Pepper gave him a chance to come to the team shop in Sandusky, Ohio, just six hours from Wisconsin. He started as a part-time schedule engineer before getting a full-time ride this season for the team that won four Truck Series titles.
“In crossing the starting line, there was a sense of relief,” Majeske said. “I feel like I was able to be in this position, I just needed to find the right opportunity with the right racing team and the right people. I finally found this home with ThorSport.”
Ty Majeski takes the flag at the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 15. Majeske’s first win in the National Division was…
Part of the rest afloat in NASCAR despite his shaky start came from being a regular contender in the late short track races. That same season, Niece Motorsports knocked him out, and Majeski won his third Oktoberfest Championship at Fairgrounds Speedway, as well as the 53rd annual Snowball Derby. Last season, Majeski won the Dick Trickle 99 Memorial and his fifth ARCA Midwest Tour title.
Moments after taking the square flag, Majeske made sure to honor his late crew, led by owner and crew chief Brian “Toby” Notelman, for the opportunity to keep his dream alive.
“I was fortunate to be a part of the amazing Late Model from West Salem, so I shouted out to these guys to interview me,” Majeski said. “They put in so much effort to keep me relevant to the late model and help me push my more NASCAR chances. It was great to have this moment and to thank them in Victory Lane. They worked so hard to get me to where I am today.”
Despite NASCAR’s new track record and success, Majeski has remained modest. The driver started at ThorSport the same way he started his first NASCAR job with Roush Fenway, working as an engineer in the shop during the week and finding ways to go racing over the weekend.
Even after his first win of his career, Majeski is still helping out at ThorSport in what he says is a big part of his growth in the sport and the team.
“I felt it was a good development step in being in the shop, getting to know some of the guys, the trucks, the equipment, and building a relationship with[owners Duke and Rhonda Thorson],” Majeske said.
The biggest moment in Majeski’s career offered even more opportunity. Bristol’s win automatically gives Majeski one of four playoff spots in the Truck Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway on November 4. The best contestant out of the final four will be the season champion. The #66 truck scored nine times in the top and 14 of the top scores in 2021.
“I feel good about where our team is,” Majeske said. “I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be in this position but all season, even though we felt consistent and ran up front all year, we improved a lot over the course of the year. The way we ended may not have been better, but the fashion we did By her she was much better… We are making our move in time at the end of the season.”
It’s such a busy time in Majeski’s career, that he is “not 100% sure yet” if he will return to the La Crosse Fairgrounds racetrack for Oktoberfest this season from October 6-9. If he does, it will be another chance to be with the racing family that has housed Majeski for a decade to get the chance he got last week in Bristol.
“You have to have a lot of great people involved to make these programs work,” Majeske said. “These young casual guys who are late are like family at this point. We have worked together for 10 years and they always have those cars ready for me when I come back to race them. I am so lucky to be racing on two great programs in two different forms of racing.”
In pictures: Mississippi Thunder Speedway Racing
MTS Micro Sprints
Micro-Sprints Feature Winner Joe Snow from Zimmerman, MN
USRA B-Mods feature race winner Joe Chisholm of Osage, IA
Mississippi Thunder Speedway “Smoke”
USRA Late Forms features winner Ryan Olson of Strum, WI
Mississippi Fast Track Thunder announcer Dan Bailey
USRA edit of Feature Winner Jim Chisholm of Osage, IA
Micro Sprints – LT Construction Night at MTS
Ryan Olson – Strom, Wisconsin
JT Wasmond – Pine Island, Minnesota
USRA Hobby Stocks Featured Winner Chris Hovden
Smokin’ around the second turn
Presentation of the flag
Like father, like son
John Doyle – Arcadia, Wisconsin
Micro Sprint Racing
Chris Hovden – Cresco, IA
Landon Folkman – Rashford, Minnesota
Mississippi Thunder Speedway
Flat tire outlet
Chris Hovden – Cresco, IA
USRA B-Mods Award Winner Joe Chisholm
James Krause can be reached via email at James.KrauseJr@lee.net or on Twitter @jkrausepro.