Ty Majeski turned the tables in the final lap to win Thursday night’s UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Majeski won his first NASCAR national series race and the first spot in the Championship 4 finale on November 4 at Phoenix Raceway by pulling away from Zane Smith following a restart with 12 laps remaining in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Round of 8 playoff race.
“Awesome job! Thank you!” Majeski said to his crew as he crossed the finish line. “Let‘s polish this baby up, and let‘s take this thing to Phoenix.”
The short-track winner skipped the customary burnout on the frontstretch in order to protect the lightning-fast No. 66 ThorSport Racing Toyota that had propelled him to victory, drawing a few joking boos from spectators in the stands but Majeski’s mood was unaffected by anything.
“Man, this is unbelievable,” said the 28-year-old Thor Sport driver. “I‘ve been waiting for an opportunity like this.”
“We came guns blazing for this race, took our best truck. Joe was aggressive on pit strategy got us out front, and we were able to get it done.”
“This is so cool. My career‘s been so up-and-down. … This is just damn cool… I‘ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Smith was unable to qualify due to transmission problems, therefore he began from the back of the pack. However, Smith finished the race without going back to pit road after making a pit stop during the initial caution following Josh Reaume’s collision on lap 37.
Smith led for 39 laps as a result of the strategy, but Majeski had the better truck and made the winning pass on Lap 156 after a restart. On two late restarts, he held off Smith to secure the win.
“A good salvage of the night… I tried matching the 66, I did the first time, but on the second time, he just got me,” said Smith who crossed the finish line second behind Majeski. “He was ultimately just better than us.”
“Still, a never-give-up kind of night… That‘s what it takes to get to the final four.”
Parker Kligerman, a non-playoff competitor, finished third, followed by Grant Enfinger, who with two rounds remaining in the Round of 8 missed the cutline for the Championship 4. In a race involving non-playoff drivers, Matt Crafton came in fifth and was followed by pole winner Derek Kraus.
Chandler Smith dominated the first two stages of the race and clocked a race-high 89 laps in the lead. However, after the second stage, he had to pit for tires and fuel and lost track position. He placed ninth, behind Stewart Friesen and Christian Eckes, two other playoff drivers.
Chandler Smith holds 24 points more than the cutline meaning he will compete in the Round of 8 race on October 1 at Talladega Superspeedway.
During practice earlier in the day, playoff driver John Hunter Nemechek crashed into the outside wall and had to start from the back in a backup truck. He placed twelve in the race.
On lap 37, Reaume lost control of his truck and slid into the path of Rajah Caruth’s drifting Chevrolet. After the driver’s-side collision, Reaume climbed out of the vehicle, but he was then brought to a nearby hospital for medical tests.