Race Weekend Central

Ty Majeski Dominates, Rebounds, Falls Short at Richmond

Polesitter, 168 laps led and a clean sweep of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ stages at Richmond Raceway on Saturday (July 29).

A Worldwide Express 250 win seemed all but guaranteed for Ty Majeski in the Commonwealth … until it wasn’t.

The driver of ThorSport Racing’s No. 98 sped on pit road at the end of stage two, setting him miles back after a dominant night to that point.

“We had the dominant truck, obviously,” Majeski said. “When you have trucks like this, it hurts not to win with them.”

Majeski ended up second to Carson Hocevar. The setback from the speeding penalty made him the truck to watch as he carved his way toward leader Hocevar ahead of the final pit cycle, but a choice to stay out while everyone else pitted cost the No. 98 the lead and win.

“I didn’t think they would get there by pitting like that, with whatever, 40 to go,” he said. “I just didn’t. I thought, at the time, [crew chief] Joe [Shear Jr.] made the right call. Our truck was so much faster than everybody else. Hindsight is always 20/20.

“Obviously, maybe I should’ve pitted, but without that speeding penalty, we win it staying out too. Disappointed. Just gotta clean up the mistakes and be better, but the good news is we have fast trucks heading into the playoffs.”

Hocevar sliced huge chunks out of Majeski’s lead in the closing laps, taking the top spot with less than five circuits remaining. Majeski feinted down the track on the backstretch in a half block attempt, but there wasn’t any stopping the No. 42.

See also
Tracking the Trucks: Drivers Race Surprisingly Clean at Richmond

“You can’t do anything,” Majeski said. “You’re just, obviously, on 101-whatever-lap tires, and he’s on 40. [You] obviously just don’t have a chance. […] Just losing too much lap time to maintain the lead there.”

Crew chief Shear echoed his driver’s sentiments.

“I still thought we had speed to cover that,” Shear said post-race. “I didn’t think he’d make it up, but [there’s] people passing with new tires, slowing you down. It just killed us and we learn and go on from here.”

Majeski was asked if he’d ever had anything that fast, from late models to NASCAR.

“I don’t know [if] ever,” he said. “That was multiple tenths on the field anytime I wanted it.

“I don’t know what to say. Just incredibly disappointed. Should’ve been in victory lane tonight.”

Shear was asked if he thought Majeski was going to lap the field, given how fast the No. 98 was.

“Yeah, I actually did,” Shear said. “It was a pretty good piece. We came with a different setup, thinking what we needed to do, and it was pretty badass.”

The gamble to not pit with everyone else, though, didn’t pay off. Majeski was already locked into the Truck Series’ postseason on points merit alone, but goes into the playoffs winless so far in 2023 after a two-win campaign last year.

“It stings a little bit,” Shear said. “We were in the [playoffs], locked in on points. So we were taking some gambles and I really thought I still made the right call.

“I was actually hoping for a caution there, because we had a super fast truck, had people laps down. If we’d got a caution we would’ve killed them, but it didn’t work out. Needless to say, winning both stages and finishing second’s not too bad, but I’d rather have the win.”

Had things fallen the No. 98’s way at the end, Majeski likely would’ve won even with the speeding penalty. The truck was just that fast.

“It was honestly just on entry into my pit box and [the] section right before my pit box,” Majeski said. “Just trying to get it all to maintain the lead. [In] hindsight, really didn’t need to do that. We were just so much better than everybody. Just a silly penalty.”

Majeski led 73 laps at Richmond last summer and finished third, winning the opening stage before Chandler Smith overtook him.

“Track just takes a lot of discipline and I feel like that’s up my wheelhouse,” he said. “Being a short track, late model guy. Racing Pensacola and State Park Speedway […] [a] lot of racetracks that don’t have a lot of grip.

“I typically run pretty well at those, so I think it just fits my driving style. Joe’s got a great short track package and just works well for us together.”

If nothing else, Majeski was already locked into the playoffs heading into Richmond and now sets his sights on a second pursuit of a Truck championship.

“[I] feel good about it,” he said. “We have fast trucks. IRP, Milwaukee [Mile], my home track … a lot of good things on the rise and we can make another run at it.”

Majeski, Nick Sanchez, Matt DiBenedetto and Matt Crafton all locked themselves in on points in the cutoff race. Crafton, Majeski and ThorSport Racing teammate Ben Rhodes — who was in the mix just behind Majeski most of the night at Richmond — make up a three-truck contingent for the team in the 2023 postseason.

About the author

Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.

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