Race Weekend Central

Late Caution Foils Ty Majeski’s Shot at Darlington Truck Win

While Ty Majeski didn’t lead the most laps or sweep the stages at Darlington Raceway, he was definitely the one to beat late.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come to be thanks to a late caution.

When a big crash at the beginning of the final stage took out Corey Heim, the dominant driver of the night, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Darlington was open for the taking Friday night (May 10).

See also
Corey Heim Driving Nashville for 23XI

While Christian Eckes was in the catbird’s seat, as he had largely run second most of the night, the handling on his No. 19 fell off and allowed Majeski and Grant Enfinger to pass him. When Enfinger had to pit to remove a windshield tearoff from his grill, that left Majeski with no one to challenge him.

“I thought we obviously had the best long run truck here tonight,” Majeski told Frontstretch after the race.

By the time the race was within 10 laps of conclusion, Majeski had nearly a six-second lead over second-place Ross Chastain, and almost 14 seconds on third-place Jake Garcia.

He was cruising to his first victory of the year until Jack Wood, who was involved in the big one earlier, smacked the wall and brought out a caution with six to go. That sent the race into overtime.

All hope was not lost for Majeski, as he was able to beat Chastain off of pit road on the final stop. He chose the top for the final restart, and as a bonus, he had his teammate Garcia behind him to help push him into turn 1. Unfortunately for the No. 98, he spun the tires on the restart, while Chastain, with help from Colby Howard, was able to get a great restart.

“Obviously probably should’ve taken the bottom,” Majeski said. “We were going back and forth on the radio. The data shows take the top, so that’s the safe route. However, I got the lead on the bottom on a restart. Then I was leading and got beat on the bottom on the next restart.

“So I saw the bottom work twice, and I should’ve went with my gut, and I didn’t.”

As Chastain sailed into turn 1 with the lead, Nick Sanchez, running fifth, attempted to take Howard and Majeski three-wide. Sanchez and Howard made contact, forcing the latter up the hill into Majeski. The stack up caused Garcia to hit the wall, costing him what would have been his best finish of 2024 by a long shot.

The move allowed Chastain to pull away for the win. While Sanchez finished second, Howard, in the midst of a career day, was none too pleased with the move.

“I think we had a top five [going] until Nick Sanchez decided to be Nick Sanchez and try to take us out,” Howard told Frontstretch after the race. “Not try to take us out – that’s just how he races. If he wouldn’t have done that, I think we would’ve ended up third.

“He took us three-wide, and to win a race you’ve got to use your head. That was just pretty dumb.”

For Majeski, he slid back to fifth, the best of the three drivers affected by Sanchez’s move.

While the contact didn’t help, Majeski’s biggest issue was the lack of a push from Garcia, despite the fact that he spun the tires on the restart.

See also
Ross Chastain Wins Darlington Truck Race In Overtime

“It’s circumstantial,” Majeski said. “If I get a good push on the top, maybe the top works. […] The [No.] 1 got a better launch than the [No.] 13 and I got an okay launch – spun ’em a little bit, but [Chastain] just had a little better help with the [No.] 1 on the bottom.

“And that was all [she] wrote.”

The finish for Majeski comes during Ford’s struggle to win in any of NASCAR’s premier series in 2024. The manufacturer has come close twice – both by virtue of photo finishes. Ryan Sieg lost the Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway by 0.002-seconds to Sam Mayer, while Chris Buescher lost to Kyle Larson last week at Kansas Speedway by 0.001-seconds – the closest finish in Cup Series history.

So far, Majeski has been the flagbearer for the manufacturer in the Truck Series, winning two stages (a sweep at Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and now four top fives – including two second-place finishes. However, the Blue Ovals have yet to reach victory lane.

In fact, Ford has struggled mightily in the Truck Series. Aside from Majeski, ThorSport Racing has not had a fast start to the season like it’s accustomed to, while Front Row Motorsports and rookie Layne Riggs have had nothing short of a disastrous start to the season.

However, ThorSport made some internal changes leading up to Darlington, which Majeski believes will help improve the organization as a whole.

“We felt like we’ve sort of been back a step these last few races,” Majeski said. “I thought tonight was a good step in the right direction as an organization. I thought all our trucks sort of ran better than what we all have all year.

“So I thought we all just got better tonight, and I thought that was a really good showing for us in general.”

Majeski and the No. 98 team, as well as ThorSport and Ford, will now look to North Wilkesboro Speedway to earn their first Truck Series win of the 2024 season on Saturday, May 18.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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