Ty Majeski has been one of the most dominant drivers in Super Late Model racing in recent years. Since 2014, the Seymour, Wisconsin driver has won four ARCA Midwest Tour championships, as well as big races such as the Rattler 250, Slinger Nationals and Oktoberfest 200. However, he has yet to go to victory lane in the biggest one of them all: the Snowball Derby.
In four starts, Majeski has a best finish of third, which came in 2015 and 2016. After being trapped two laps down for most of last year’s Snowball Derby because of pit strategy, he returns to Five Flags Speedway looking to redeem himself from one year ago.
2018 came with its ups and down for the Wisconsin driver. He was tabbed to compete part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 alongside Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe as part of ‘The Program.’
“We had our ups and downs for sure,” Majeski told Speed51.com. “The Xfinity Series for sure was a challenge. Sharing that ride with two other drivers and not being able to get in a rhythm being in the car every week was difficult. My experience level is pretty low when it comes to mile-and-a-half race tracks and with running the Xfinity cars, so not being able to get into a good rhythm going throughout the season was tough, and I feel like for all three of us it was a challenging year.”
While he didn’t have the intensive schedule he’s had in recent years, Majeski was still one of the drivers to beat anytime he showed up to the track with the infamous No. 91 Super Late Model owned by Brad Mannstedt. So far, he’s picked up wins at New Smyrna and in the Slinger Nationals in 2018. He also dominated Oktoberfest Weekend at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway (WI) before his win was stripped away in ARCA Midwest Tour.
“In the Late Model stuff, we were really, really good all year long,” Majeski said. “We started off at Speedweeks and got a win down there. We went to the Dells and won there, won the Slinger Nationals, and we pretty much dominated Oktoberfest before we had some issues in tech. Overall, our Late Models have been really good, and we’re building a brand-new car to come down to the Derby. We’re excited to put some new ideas we have into action, and I hope we have good speed when we show up.”
Majeski had one of the fastest cars at the end of last year’s Snowball Derby, but was two laps down after a pit strategy call went bad earlier in the race. This year, he says his team won’t make the same mistake that put them out of contention one year ago.
“The biggest thing is when I know we have a competitive car, there’s no point in trying to do something fancy on pit road,” Majeski continued. “We thought the way the race was going and all the cautions were going, we were only at lap eighty, but only had maybe forty laps of green flag on our tires. We thought, well if we can save a set now and have a set laying when everyone else doesn’t and we get a caution with twenty to go, we can come and put those tires on and try to come up through the field and try to potentially win, but it wasn’t a good decision. The race just happened to go green for 75 laps right after we stayed out and we got trapped a few laps down.”
“Say we get a caution, and even if we went just one lap down, it might’ve worked out really well,” Majeski continued. “That’s the risk we took and it didn’t work out. So, this year, as long as we have a really good, competitive car, we’re going to stick it out with the same strategy as the leaders and hopefully beat them straight up at the end.”
As Majeski looks to make his fifth start in the Snowball Derby, he says the biggest challenge for his team will be balancing race and qualifying runs leading up to the most intense qualifying session in all of racing.
“Balancing race runs versus qualifying runs. We’ve typically had, at least for the last three years, really good speed in qualifying trim, and hopefully that’s the same this year where we can just focus on a lot of race trim stuff,” Majeski said. “The biggest challenge for us is that the track typically changes throughout the week. We get down there on the Monday before and rent the track and test. Then the track gradually rubbers up and changes the balance of our car. That’s something we’ve been fighting a little bit. We always feel good about what we have on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but for some reason when it gets to Sunday, we’re just not quite where we want to be.”
Majeski has won big races throughout his career, but he will be looking to win the biggest one of them all come Sunday, December 2. Not only will it be the biggest win of his career, but he would avenge the one he believed got away from him in 2015.
“It’ll be the biggest win of my career for sure,” Majeski said. “It’s the crown jewel of Super Late Model racing. The who’s who of Late Model race is going to be there competing, and we all want to win it. What’s unique about the Derby is there’s fifty cars and just about every one of those fifty cars can have a good day and have a good chance of winning. It’s a tough race, and we’re going to do everything we can to try to put everything together to win the thing.
“I felt like we had the car capable of winning in 2015, but we were not prepared as far as pit stops go,” he added. “We came in leading with fifty to go and came off pit road twentieth and ended up finishing third. We had a really good car that year and I wish we could go back to 2015 and do a better job on pit road, but we can’t, and we’re going to do everything we can to put everything together this year.”
Race fans unable to make it to Pensacola, Florida will be able to see all of the unique paint schemes by watching Speed51.com’s live pay-per-view broadcast throughout the week. Five-day video tickets are currently available at a discounted price of $74.99 ($35 savings) by clicking here.
The 51st Annual Snowball Derby will take place on Wednesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 2 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. For more information regarding the event, visit Snowball Central presented by Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com