CONCORD, N.C. – It may have been almost nine months since Ty Majeski was in the garage to compete in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, but he didn’t look a bit out of place Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Majeski is back on a national stage for this weekend’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200, driving the No. 66 Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing as he attempts to make his first Truck Series start since last September at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
It’s a return to a faster pace for the late model ace from Seymour, Wis., who drove most of the 2020 season for Niece Motorsports before he had to take a step back and regroup.
Now, Majeski is back and with a team he knows can immediately contend at the front of the field.
“Our speed off the trailer is a testament to all the preparation put in back at the shop,” said Majeski, who was 16th-fastest in practice but less than a half-second off the fastest time. “I’ve been working with a lot of the guys at the ThorSport shop as an engineer the last few months, and I’m certainly looking forward to putting all that work to the test here this weekend. We unloaded really close to where we needed to be; the splitter was on the money. It was just a matter of me getting up to speed.
“Obviously, we’re going up against drivers and teams and trucks that have been racing all year, so we’re at disadvantage from that respect, but I’m glad we got practice and I got to knock off the rusty spots a little bit before we get going.”
Though his alignment with the team owned by Duke and Rhonda Thorson may have surprised some, Majeski tipped that the association centers around David Pepper, the team’s general manager who worked as his spotter for select races in the ARCA Menards Series several seasons ago.
“Originally, this all started back in 2016 when I was running ARCA with the Roulo Brothers … Pepper was actually my spotter for a couple of those races,” Majeski recalled. “So I knew the team, but we really lost touch there throughout my Roush days (in the Xfinity Series). And then while I was at Niece, you know, I really didn’t talk much to Pepper … but after that deal fell through in the middle of last year, I called Pepper and I said, ‘Hey, I know you guys don’t have anything for me right now, but I’d like to come up and tour the shop.’
“So I went up there a couple of weeks later and toured the shop, Pepper showed me around and I met Duke, and we went out and ran well in our late model through the winter months and won the Snowball [Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Florida] … and a couple of weeks later, they basically gave me a job offer that included a couple of races,” Majeski continued. “I decided to take it and make the move to up to Ohio, and I’m excited for it. It’s a great group of guys up there.
“I love the atmosphere with this team, and I love their work ethic. I think it will be good for all of us.”
Asked what his job details when he’s not driving for ThorSport, Majeski revealed that he’s putting the mechanical parts of his mind – honed by racing on short tracks across the Upper Midwest – to good use.
“I’m the engineer on the (No.) 66 entry, technically,” Majeski tipped. “That truck’s not going to run all the time, and of course when I’m in it, I can’t engineer myself from the seat. So when Paul [Menard] runs it, I’ll help work on his trucks. I was an engineer last week at COTA [Circuit of The Americas] for Paul and worked with the engineers at the shop to help find speed. I don’t have my engineering degree, but I understand how these trucks work and the mechanics behind them, so I’m able to take that knowledge and sort of apply it to the engineering side of it and connect the dots a little bit.
“It’s taken me a little bit of time to learn the actual engineering side of these trucks, but I’m able to comprehend it,” he added. “I feel like I’m getting it pretty decently. I’m definitely learning a lot about these trucks and, obviously, building a relationship with all the people doing it. It’s certainly a good thing being at the shop, knowing all the guys coming to the track and knowing what to expect.
“All of those things shorten that learning curve, for sure.”
Though Majeski only has two Truck Series races set in stone with ThorSport right now – Charlotte and the race at Nashville Superspeedway on June 18 – he’s hopeful that some strong runs may open additional doors for him with the reigning championship team, if not this year, then for 2022.
“My intent is, for sure, to be back full time in the future … and I think between ThorSport and I, we’re all looking long term here,” Majeski said. “We don’t know when that’s going to be or what that may look like, but I certainly like it at ThorSport and the intent going in was that it was going to be, hopefully, a long-term situation where we can grow together.
“Hopefully, we can turn into something like that. Everyone will just have to stay tuned.”
Majeski’s career-best Truck Series finish of eighth was posted at Charlotte one year ago. He’ll look to better that mark Friday night before heading to Wisconsin’s Jefferson Speedway Saturday for an ARCA Midwest Tour event, where he’ll drive his familiar No. 91 for longtime crew chief Toby Nuttleman.