Majeski Earns Second Snowball Derby Crown

Majeski
Ty Majeski won Sunday's Snowball Derby. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Ty Majeski snuck through a bevy of late-race chaos to win his second Snowball Derby in four years Sunday at Five Flags Speedway.

Majeski, who previously won the super late model crown jewel in 2020, was the beneficiary of a collision that happened with seven laps left – when short-track veterans Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard crashed in turn one of the historic half-mile oval while racing for the lead and the Tom Dawson Trophy.

Nasse was leading, in search of his first Snowball Derby victory in 13 tries, when Pollard nudged him off the bottom groove of the racetrack coming to the start of lap 294. The two battled side by side until running out of real estate at the entrance to the first turn.

The pair collided in a shower of sparks, spun up the racetrack, and crashed into the outside wall.

In an instant, the quest for a breakthrough win for two of the Snowball Derby’s all-time greats was over.

Again.

“I told myself it was either going to be me wrecked or me winning and it was one of those deals where those guys behind me were fast, and definitely faster on the short run compared to me, so I knew they were going to be charging hard,” Nasse told Short Track Scene about the crash. “That’s what happened.

“I definitely hate the way it ended. I ain’t trying to wreck any more than the next guy. I come here to win. I come here to race hard. I did crowd Bubba there a little bit, but he knew what he was doing, and I knew what I was doing. We were racing hard.”

For Pollard, it was his 18th attempt to win the one short-track major that has always eluded him. Pollard’s quest to win the Derby has been equated to Dale Earnhardt’s 20-year journey to win NASCAR’s Daytona 500, which he accomplished in 1998.

Pollard, however, is still looking for the checkered flag at the end of his road.

Amid the heartbreaking end for that pair, it was Majeski – now a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series mainstay for ThorSport Racing – who returned to the style of racing that shot him into the national spotlight and claimed one of the most historic trophies in grassroots motorsports for the second time.

“It’s just hard to do,” said Majeski of winning the Derby. “You can’t just have a car fast enough to win this race. I felt like we actually had the best long-run car today. We were really strong at the end of the runs. I thought we had Nasse there before that caution came out with about 20 to go.

“It came down to a short-run race.”

The veterans were around at the end in part due to a multi-car pileup that occurred on a lap-282 restart, when Noah Gragson missed a shift from fourth and collected a large portion of the field as he stalled out.

Among those eliminated at that point were Jake Finch, two-time Derby winner Erik Jones, William Byron, Hunter Robbins, and defending Derby champion Derek Thorn.

Of that incident, Gragson absorbed the blame.

“I just screwed up,” he said. “I couldn’t get it in fourth and I don’t know if I was too fast or got on the gas too hard but I couldn’t get it in. I can’t remember the last time I missed a shift.”

Gio Ruggiero came home as the runner-up, 1.042 seconds behind Majeski in the end, followed by Travis Braden, Cole Butcher, and Matt Craig.

Nasse limped home in sixth as the final car on the lead lap, in spite of his late crash with Pollard.

The finish:

1. Ty Majeski, 2. Gio Ruggiero, 3. Travis Braden, 4. Cole Butcher, 5. Matt Craig, 6. Stephen Nasse, 7. Derek Griffith, 8. Luke Fenhaus, 9. Jacob Gomes, 10. William Sawalich, 11. John Bolen, 12. Haeden Plybon, 13. Caden Kvapil, 14. Johnny Sauter, 15. Timothy Watson, 16. Billy VanMeter, 17. Conner Jones, 18. Ryan Moore, 19. Bubba Pollard, 20. Kole Raz, 21. Jett Noland, 22. William Byron, 23. Noah Gragson, 24. Treyten Lapcevich, 25. Jake Finch, 26. Derek Thorn, 27. Jace Hansen, 28. Hunter Robbins, 29. Erik Jones, 30. Michael Hinde, 31. Ryan Preece, 32. Michael House, 33. Connor Okrzesik, 34. Jackson Boone, 35. Jeremy Doss, 36. Preston Peltier.

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