For the first time in the 13-year history of the annual 51’s presented by JEGS, a driver has won back-to-back Short Track Driver of the Year awards. Ty Majeski of Seymour, Wisconsin has been voted the 2016 Short Track Driver of the Year by the fans on Speed51.com. Majeski, widely considered as the top short track racing prospect, bested a strong field of 19 other drivers to win the annual award for the second straight year.
“For two years in a row and being the number one Short Track Draft pick, it is definitely an honor. Everybody pays attention to Speed51; it’s obviously the premier short track media company. It’s very special to get the recognition of everyone,” Majeski said. “The voting process is something that is a little bit of a challenge in itself; you’ve got to get people to go out there to vote. I just thank everybody that voted for me and that pays attention to my Facebook page.”
Majeski’s 2016 campaign got off to a strong start when he won the Super Late Model championship during the 50th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). A month later he kept up his winning ways in the state of Alabama by winning the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.
From there, the wins just kept on coming for the 22-year-old Late Model racer. Majeski picked up a total of 28 victories during the year including six wins on the ARCA Midwest Tour en route to his third straight tour championship.
Along the way, Majeski also found himself in a battle for the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title, something he had never experienced before. He ultimately finished third in the national standings with 14 wins in 26 NWAAS starts. Those wins came at New Smyrna, Elko Speedway (MN) and Madison International Speedway (WI).
In addition to those victories, Majeski also recorded a TUNDRA Super Late Model Series win and a Red, White and Blue Series victory at Wisconsin International Raceway.
Majeski ended his season on a high note with a second straight Florida Governor’s Cup victory at New Smyrna and a third-place finish in the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags (FL).
“We were even stronger in 2016,” Majeski said when asked to compare his last two seasons. “Anytime you work with the same team over and over, you’re going to get better. Just like anything else, the more you do it the better you’re going to get at it. (Crew Chief) Toby (Nuttleman) and I have been working together for three or four years now and we race 60 times a year, and anytime you can get that seat time it will definitely help you out.
“The biggest thing in 2016 was getting some of those premier wins. We won the Rattler 250. We went down and won the Governor’s Cup again. We won six Midwest Tour races. We won Oktoberfest and we ran strong again at the (Snowball) Derby. I think just running a little bit better in those big premier races down south was the biggest difference.”
Majeski becomes just the second driver to win 51’s Short Track Driver of the Year Award multiple times. He joins Bubba Pollard, who has won the award three times, on the list of drivers to win the award on more than one occasion.
“It’s special. Bubba Pollard will go down as one of the best short track racers ever. The guy is one of the best of all time and to be mentioned with him is pretty special,” Majeski stated. “What we’ve done the past couple years is pretty special with 48 wins in the past two years. I think that’s something to definitely be proud of for me team and I.”
Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Chase Elliott and Joey Logano are former winners of the award, as well as NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Hemric. Short track stars Matt Hirschman, Mike Rowe and Ted Christopher have also previously earned the honors.
Finishing runner up to Majeski in the voting was 2016 Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard. “Super Matt” scored 27 total wins last season between the SDS, Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series and local Modified races in New York.
Bobby Pierce, a 22-time winner in 2016, finished third in the voting after having the most successful year of his young racing career. “The Smooth Operator” picked up his signature victory in the World 100 at Eldora Speedway (OH) and dominated the Hell Tour during the summer months.
2016 Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series champion Patrick Emerling finished fourth in the voting after a 14-win season, while Dirt Modified standout and Indoor Auto Racing Series champion Erick Rudolph rounded out the top five.
Former Short Track Driver of the Year Award Winners
2015 – Ty Majeski
2014 – Bubba Pollard
2013 – Matt Hirschman
2012 – Daniel Hemric
2011 – Bubba Pollard
2010 – Chase Elliott
2009 – Bubba Pollard
2008 – No Vote
2007 – Joey Logano
2006 – No Vote
2005 – Mike Rowe
2004 – Ted Christopher
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51