Ty Majeski is one of the hottest prospects in short track racing. With more than 45 wins combined during the last two seasons, Majeski was chosen as the first overall pick in the 2016 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com. As a result, Majeski is also ineligible for the 2017 Short Track Draft. But we here at Speed51.com powered by JEGS wanted to make sure Majeski was still involved, so we asked him to be an expert panelist, meaning he would now have a say in who was selected first overall this year.
“Its definitely special, obviously I would like to be a part of the draft and eligible for it but this is probably the next best thing so its cool to look at and evaluate all the talent from the previous year and who’s stock has been rising and falling since last year. Its pretty neat to be a part of that,” Majeski told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
We spoke with Majeski and had him break down his top five and explain why he drafted the way he did, as well as talk about what process went into choosing who made the cut and who he thinks might have better luck next year.
Majeski, with an asphalt background himself, said he leaned more to the drivers whom he could relate to based on the surface they race on.
“For me, I am biased because I am more of an asphalt guy, but for me the draft is all about who is most ready for NASCAR and who would a Cup owner or a good team owner be looking for, and for me you have already needed to make that transition to asphalt from dirt if you were a dirt racer. A lot of my stuff was mostly asphalt oriented for that reason.”
Todd Gilliland has been a heavy favorite for the top pick, and he captured the number one draft pick spot on Majeski’s ballot. The 16-year-old North Carolina driver has shown success in the ARCA Racing Series and both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West.
“Of course Todd has had a tremendous past couple of seasons and he’s kept it up and continued to do so and I believe he has a really good head on his shoulders. He’s a good kid, and I really believe that goes a long way,” said Majeski.
Second on his draft ballot is Kyle Benjamin. Like Gilliland, Benjamin has had a lot of success in heavy stock cars but Benjamin also has a resume in Majeski’s field of Super Late Model racing.
“He’s been running a lot of ARCA races so he’s got mile and mile and a half experience. He’s run really well in K&N with the bigger style car and I think the draft needs to be a little bit more K&N/ARCA based just because that is the type of car you are going to have to drive so that’s how I justified that. Kyle does a really good job
and is really talented as well. He basically wins in everything and he’s had really good success in super late model, K&N, and ARCA as well and I think he does a really good job off the track as well so that’s why I put him second. “
The third and fourth spots are two fellow drivers and friends who are close in age and experience. They are also Fury Race Car teammates. Christian Eckes rounded off the podium while Zane Smith was right below him in fourth.
“I think Zane Smith has a really good attitude and he works really hard at what he does and I think he’s really talented. I have gotten to race with him a bunch and of course Christian Eckes won the Derby and so that’s the biggest short track race you can win in my opinion and the toughest one to win at that, and so that’s kind of why I placed my top five where they are at. “
Fifth on Majeski’s Short Track Draft ballot is up-and-comer Harrison Burton. When our panel of experts received the draft ballot, Burton was winless in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, but he changed that this past weekend by taking the win in a rain-shortened race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Between Eckes and Zane Smith and Harrison it was kind of a toss up,” Majeski said.
“He was sixth last year. It’s hard for me to justify it. He’s obviously had a really strong start to this season but before this he obviously hasn’t won as much as some of the other drivers and its hard for me to justify putting him in front of a guy like Todd Gilliland or Kyle Benjamin who won last year and have kept winning this year. Its just hard for me to justify Harrison jumping those two guys so for that reason I put him fifth.”
Fans are encouraged to tell Majeski why he’s right or wrong on Twitter using the hashtag, #51Draft and voice their opinion on Majeski’s top five.
The first overall pick in the 2017 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com will be revealed Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. The first round of picks will be known by the weekend, with picks 26-51 coming next week.
-By Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @HannahNewhouse
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com