One of the most successful short track racers in the country will make his return to the Rattler 250 this weekend. After missing last year’s race due to NASCAR Xfinity Series obligations, Wisconsin native Ty Majeski heads back to South Alabama Speedway looking to win the Rattler for the third time in four years.
The four-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion first won the Rattler in 2016 after leading a race-record 242 of 250 laps. The next year, he became only the second driver to win the race in back-to-back years after a late-race pass. Now, he heads back to the 4/10-mile oval looking for a third meeting with the Alabama rattlesnake.
His team debuted a new car at the 51st Annual Snowball Derby last December. In his two starts with the new No. 91 Super Late Model, he has finished second in the Derby and won the Winter Showdown in California. The speed it has shown has Majeski excited about his return to the Rattler 250, the season opener for the Southern Super Series.
“I think we feel pretty good,” Majeski told Speed51.com. “We built a new car for the Derby with some new ideas behind it and ran really good there. I felt like we had a car plenty capable of winning there but it just didn’t go our way at the end. We took the same car to Kern County and had a really good piece out there and ran really well. It’s a aerodynamic based racetrack and a lot of our new ideas were aero based and I think we made some gains on it. That car’s been really fast and we’re feeling really confident heading into the Rattler.”
Majeski credits much of what he and his team have learned and implemented on the new car to his time spent in the NASCAR Xfinity Series one year ago.
“Learning as much as I did in Xfinity, those cars are obviously so much aerodynamically based and a lot of your speed is based on your aero package and I’ve learned a lot of things from that standpoint, and a lot of that got implemented on our new race car and I think the speed is showing on the racetrack,” he stated. “I think that car is the best one we’ve ever built and a decent amount of it has to do with some of those changes that we made. I’m excited to see what we have this weekend.”
Despite not having competed at South Alabama Speedway one year ago, Majeski believes he will not have any problems with getting reacclimated to the track. His success in the Rattler, combined with what he and his team have learned, has his team confident in having a strong run this weekend.
“I don’t think so. I’ve been running Supers for five or six years and I feel like my team and I have a pretty good handle on unloading fast,” Majeski commented. “I feel we have a really good package and we’ve learned some stuff since we last won it. We have a good baseline of also implementing things into our race cars and I think we’ll be really strong this weekend.”
Majeski says the gameplan for the Rattler will depend on the format used for the race. In recent years, the race has seen two breaks during the race. But with the upward trend of the usage of controlled cautions in marquee races, it could throw a wrench into his strategy.
No matter which format is used, he believes a good race car will be key to winning on Sunday.
“I’m not exactly sure what the format is; if it’s the normal breaks at lap 100 and 200 or there’s going to be controlled cautions. If it’s the typical breaks at 100 and 200 the strategy’s pretty straightforward, but if we end up having a controlled caution race like how Kern County was and some of the other bigger shows are now, there’s going to be some strategy that gets played. I think as long as you have a good race car, you should be okay. We’ll see what happens, I’m really excited to be going back. It’s a really racy racetrack, one of my favorite race tracks to go to.”
After two meetings with the famed rattlesnake in victory lane, Majeski still feels nervous with it around his neck. On Sunday, he is hoping to meet it again, but maybe without the uneasiness.
“It’s always an uneasy feeling but after the first time, I was a little uneasy. And the second time it got a little bit better. So hopefully the third time I’ll just be happy to be there.”
Race fans unable to make it to South Alabama Speedway this weekend can catch all of the action via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Two-day video tickets can be purchased at a discounted price today by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com