The opening stage of Saturday (August 14) night’s Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation at Richmond Raceway was all Ty Majeski.
While the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series polesitter didn’t lead the first lap, he led the next 73 amid winning stage 1. That didn’t stick as Majeski ended up third behind a pair of Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks, but he put himself in a position to move on to the next round of the playoffs with a 33-point cushion above the cutline.
“The KBM trucks were just a little bit better than us tonight,” Majeski said on pit road after the race. “Tried making some swings at it after the second and third stops. Got it closer at the end — I had something for the [No.] 4, maybe, found a little bit on the high side at the end [but] just not quite enough. Like I said, they were probably just a little better than us tonight, so overall, really, really solid night for us, good points day. I think we can be decently relaxed going into Kansas, but still need to put together a good race.”
The No. 66 was on rails heading into the opening round of pit stops … at least, until the ThorSport Racing truck’s jack man fell in front of the Toyota Tundra’s bumper as he raced to the other side of the box.
A fall for Paul Steele, the No. 66 jack man, during Ty Majeski’s stop in Richmond.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) August 14, 2022
“No doubt [it was scary],” Majeski said. “Once I [saw] him trip and lost his footing, I was just on the brakes hard to try [to stop]. I knew I was gonna hit him, but obviously was trying not to hit him hard and he did a great job recovering and really making a solid stop — even the one he tripped on — and the next two were awesome. So [I] can’t ask for any more than that, obviously — things happen, right? We’re all competing as hard as we can to get the most out of out of everything, whether that’s [on] pit road or on the racetrack.”
The slower stop set Majeski back a couple spots, where he stayed the rest of the night. On the ensuing restart, he made a move for third, but couldn’t make a run at John Hunter Nemechek or eventual winner Chandler Smith.
“[It] just does everything worse,right?” Majeski said of the truck being stuck in traffic. “It gets loose and tighter in the center and freer off, we all know that, right? It’s the nature of the truck racing and overall, you know, my truck is really good. Just need a little bit more for those KBM trucks.
“We made small changes, not much,” he added. “We thought we were decent, and once we got behind those guys the balance changed quite a bit. I think the track was going through a transition as well, so just didn’t keep up with it quite enough; that’s something I’ll get better at as I experience more of these races.”
The No. 66 crew sits fifth in points and third among the eight playoff drivers not locked into the next playoff round. All four ThorSport teams made the playoffs, and three are currently on the right side of the cutline.
“I feel really good about where our team is at,” Majeski said. “I feel like we’re good on all types of racetracks right now and I think that’s been a strong suit of ours all year long, and I feel really good about where we’re at. We just need a little bit – there’s one or two guys that are a little bit better than us each race, right, and it’s not always the same guy, so we’ll hit it one of these nights and I feel like [if] we keep running the top three like this, hopefully we can break out for a win here soon.”
While the Wisconsin native still has yet to win in the series this season – or in any of NASCAR’s three premier touring series, period – 2022’s full-time campaign has brought three poles, eight top fives and 12 top 10s to the No.66 team, as well as a 7.7 average start and 9.9 average finish.
“[…] Obviously, we want to win, but we’re points racing as well. Our goal is to make it to the Round of Eight, and then we’ll have Bristol, Talladega and Homestead to try and put three good races together and make it to Phoenix. So the groundwork is there, we have two really solid runs going back to a racetrack in Kansas where we finished second at, so [we] feel good about where we’re at.”
Even with the early dominance not resulting in a win,
“I mean, it’s certainly bittersweet, right, we all come to the racetrack to win races. That’s what we try and do. But the same token, looking at where I was last year, even two or three years ago, just to be in this spot, I’m so thankful for this great opportunity to even have a chance to win these races. That’s a dream come true […] for me.”
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