The 53rd Annual Snowball Derby provided another finish that fans will remember for a long time. Ty Majeski prevailed in a back-and-forth battle with Derek Thorn in a five-lap shootout for his first win in Super Late Model racing’s biggest race.
The Wisconsin driver passed Thorn just two laps before a competition caution with 22 laps to go. That would prove to be a major event in deciding the outcome, giving Majeski the inside line for the final restarts of the race.
Sunday’s triumph marks his fourth podium finish in seven starts in the Snowball Derby. After coming close the previous two years, Majeski finally broke through and took the Tom Dawson Trophy.
“I can’t even describe it man, this is so cool. If you didn’t enjoy that you don’t enjoy racing, that was an awesome race with Derek (Thorn), I have so much respect for him,” Majeski said on the Speed51.TV broadcast. “He’s such a great race car driver. I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit worried after that first run, we fell back a little bit and we made good adjustments all day to put ourselves in position at the end.”
The 2020 Snowball Derby was unofficially the fastest Snowball Derby in the current 300-lap format, having been contested in two hours, nine minutes and 41 seconds. Even with the furious pace that was set, it once again came down to a late-race shootout between two Super Late Model titans as the race was extended to 302 laps.
Majeski’s biggest challenge going into the final run wasn’t beating Thorn, it was not beating himself.
“I was just trying not to lose it. If he was going to beat me he was going to beat me, just trying not to lose it. I was trying my best to not make a mistake and give it away.”
He joins five-time Snowball Derby winner Rich Bickle as the only other driver from Wisconsin to win the Snowball Derby. It caps off a year that saw him win the Rattler 250, Slinger Nationals, Gandrud Auto Group 250, and Oktoberfest in a Super Late Model.
“This has been one everybody wants, and one we’ve wanted for a long time. I felt like we’ve given a couple of these away. It felt good to finally put ourselves in position again and finally close this thing out.”
Derek Thorn set a Snowball Derby record by leading 252 laps during the day, but just like the previous laps-led record holder, Chase Elliott in 2013, the California driver leaves Five Flags Speedway empty-handed. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort on the final restart, putting up a valiant battle in the final five laps.
He said losing the lead just before the final competition caution ultimately cost him the win.
“I’m proud of these guys, we had a good car all day. We gave it up on the last competition caution that came out there, he snuck by me with one to go,” Thorn said. “He had the track position and wasn’t afraid to use the front bumper to keep us out of the way. We’ll keep at it and hope more luck can come our way.”
After his second-straight pole and a new Snowball Derby record, he will have to wait another year before he receives another shot at the Snowball Derby crown. Thorn says the finish will remain on his mind during that time.
“Oh yeah, I’ll play those laps back in my mind for the next 365 days.”
A pair of Last Chance Qualifier competitors finished third and fourth with NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott and Chandler Smith. Outside front row starter Kaden Honeycutt rounded out the top-five.
Stay tuned to Speed51 for further coverage from the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo