With two laps to go in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club, Ty Majeski appeared destined to win the event. However, a late-race restart turned to calamity for the Wisconsin driver, leaving him questioning restart procedures for the marquee event.
Majeski led going into a green-white-checkered restart following an incident with eventual winner Travis Braden and Cole Butcher. However, on the restart, contact with Casey Roderick led to Majeski spinning in front of the pack, collecting several front runners.
However, Majeski was not upset with Roderick following the contact. Instead, he was frustrated with restart procedures for the event, as policed by Five Flags Speedway race director Nicholas Rogers.
“I just want an understanding,” Majeski told Speed51. “He didn’t like any of my restarts except the last one. He said he liked what I did there. Obviously, I got jacked up. I just want some clarification on what he wanted.”
Majeski and Rogers had a lengthy discussion following the race regarding those procedures before going separate ways, unable to reach a common ground on the matter.
“I guess we agreed to disagree. We wanted the CRA, ARCA Midwest Tour starts. In this type of a race on a green-white-checkered, you are a sitting duck as the leader. He wanted a slow, gradual pace. When you have a slow, gradual pace with two to go in the Derby, you’re asking for trouble in my opinion.
“All these guys are capable of running in NASCAR. These are the best short track racers in the country. To not have the leader have an advantage is completely ridiculous in my opinion. That’s why we tore up a bunch of cars.”
Rogers argued that the restart procedure utilized in the Snowball Derby is similar to what most short track sanctioning bodies use.
“Our procedure is we want him to pick up the speed in turn three and steadily increase all the way through to start/finish,” said Rogers. “He was wanting to go back to NASCAR-style restarts, which was his comment in the interview.
“At the end of the day, we went to them because they stopped a lot of the restart issues you have. The leader playing games, jamming the brakes coming into the box. The first five rows make it through fine and the back five or 10 rows are destroyed. Going to that procedure, which has been in place for a while in other series, CRA does that, SRL does that, I believe ARCA Midwest which Ty runs, have been very successful. So we’ve gone to that style, and have done very well and restarts have gotten a lot cleaner over time.”
Roderick, who restarted third behind Majeski before the contact, felt Majeski’s inconsistency on restarts led to some of the issues experienced.
“Majeski, the last few restarts, I wouldn’t say he was playing games but it was different speeds every time,” Roderick explained. “I know race control was on him for being too slow. We picked it up the last couple. It just jumped sideways when he got on the gas.
“It looked like he drifted up into the 51 [of Nasse] and I was right there with him. I was looking to get to the inside of him if he drifted up even more. It looked like when he hit the 51, it turned him sideways. I had nowhere to go, really.”
The disagreement wasn’t enough to sour Majeski on returning to the Snowball Derby in the future, confident that he had a car capable of winning the race and would have another shot to take the elusive victory.
“There’s no hard feelings,” Majesk saidi. “I just want an understanding from Nick, from his perspective, what he wanted. Based on what he wanted, I explained my side and why I think he’s wrong. Whether he agrees or not, that’s obviously up to him. I’m obviously frustrated. We had the best car. We’ll be back.”
Meanwhile, Rogers feels making an exception on restart procedure for the Derby would not be conducive for an event contested among the best drivers in short track racing.
“He takes exception to this being a marquee event and it should be done as a NASCAR-style, as he kept calling it, restart in our restart zone,” Rogers said. “I understand his point with that, but these are short track racers who short track race 52 weeks a year. They are used to short-track style restarts. It would be, to me, different to change what we do all year long for one event because it’s a marquee. A marquee shouldn’t be different.”
Roderick left with disappointment of seeing his own best shot at the Snowball Derby slip away.
“It was my best opportunity to win the Snowball Derby,” Roderick said. “I’m just at a loss for words at what happened tonight. I feel like we had the race-winning car. It’s two big races in a row we’ve given up. It sucks, but it’s not going to knock me down. I’m going to keep digging and keep fighting and we’re going to get this thing.”
An on-demand replay of the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby can be viewed by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo