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Ty Majeski Claims Newest Late Model Stock Crown Jewel in His Debut

One of the most successful Super Late drivers made an immediate impact in Late Models

Andy Marquis photo

Ty Majeski spent much of his first Late Model Stock race behind Josh Berry and used the final 25 laps to show what he had learned.

Majeski claimed $10,000 for winning the inaugural South Carolina 400 on Saturday night at Florence Motor Speedway.

The event was the spiritual successor to the Myrtle Beach 400 — operated by the same promotional group that spearheaded Myrtle Beach Speedway over the past several years. The race produced the MB400 experience but on the four-tenths mile bullring instead — a tire conservation showcase between some of the top teams in the discipline.

While others spent time near the front of the field, Berry and Majeski remained no worse than fifth and sixth and nose to tail.

Majeski had never raced a Late Model Stock before this weekend, much less any Stock Car on a track this abrasive.

Once Berry pushed forward on the final restart with 72 to go, Majeski followed, carving through the top-five together, and completing the race winning pass with 25 to go.

Has Majeski ever run a race quite like this?

“Nothing quite like that,” Majeski said. “With the Super Late Model, you’re just trying to be smooth and take care of the tire. With these, you back up the pace like a second, and modulate everything to be smooth on your inputs.

“You can still make speed that way. With these, it’s just cat and mouse.

“We knew from the start that we were racing the No. 8 car, because he’s the best at these kind of races, and just rode there with him. Paced myself with him. Once he was going to go, I was going to go.”

The final 50 laps were primarily contested in deep lapped traffic and that’s when Majeski began to search for a way around the JR Motorsports No. 8.

Berry said earlier on Saturday that he wished the race tool place during the day as his car proved to be too tight in colder conditions.

That proved to be the difference.

“Towards the end (of the first half), we started to get tight,” Berry said. “We just didn’t hit it. The car got worse as it cooled off more. We just couldn’t get through the middle of 3 and 4 like we needed to. I started to move around and just got beat.”

Majeski has over 100 Super Late Model victories across the country but had never driven the Late Model Stock Car until Thursday.

It’s heavier and requires more force rather than finesse and those differences initially challenged Majeski throughout the weekend.

That doesn’t even include the two engine changes required on Friday due to a failure. Needing to replace the powerplant cost Majeski two hours of seat time and his team put in a built motor just to get Majeski time in the car.

“My gosh, these poor guys on this team worked their tails off,” Majeski said. “Not only two engine changes, but I was being picky, perhaps way too picky all weekend. I guess I was looking for something that may not be possible with these Late Model Stocks.

“But dammit, we kept working on it, and working on it, and got it as close as we could. I think my pushing them to get the car a little bit better was the difference tonight. Obviously, Josh is an unbelievable race car driver, especially in this discipline.

“It feels good to beat a guy like that, who has been on top of his game all year.”

While Majeski and Berry were conserving their tires, after finishing the first 100 lap segment 1-2, Sam Yarbrough and Matt cut their way through the field and led the next 40 laps. Simultaneously, Justin Johnson cut from 14th to third in the first 20 laps after the break.

But either they didn’t save enough while racing hard or they simply got beat by Majeski and Berry.

“I was looking for track position,” Yarbrough said. “We were tight on that first run, and made some adjustments that really helped, the car really came alive. I probably pushed too hard. Those cautions and restarts didn’t help.

“I just didn’t have enough to overcome the weight break they got running the 604.”

Lee Pulliam was routinely in the same pack with Majeski and Berry, but a lack of cautions ultimately doomed his conservative driving chances on Saturday.

“We found a good spot to ride, chasing Yarbrough down, unless we got a caution, but not a bad night for just my fourth race of the year,” Pulliam said.

The results was a fitting reflection of the weekend as JR Motorsports actually helped Chad Bryant Racing with their engine change on Friday night and they ended up racing for the win.

Does Berry at all regret the help now?

“Not at all,” Berry said. “We have a lot of respect for Ty Majeski and we work closely with Chad Bryant Racing. When I went to race the Snowball Derby, Ty was a lot of help and this is what we do for each other in this sport.

“I was glad we were able to get them back on track, even if I came out on the wrong side of it tonight.”

That respect was mutual from the winner.

“We’re essentially teammates and it was neat to see Josh and his crew help us, lending us the engine and then helping us put it in last night,” Majeski said. “That’s what short track racing is all about. This Late Model Stock community is like a family and in my short time being here, they’ve accepted me. It’s a great group of people and I’m proud to be a part of it tonight.”

RESULTS

  1. 77 Ty Majeski
  2. 8 Josh Berry
  3. 95 Sam Yarbrough
  4. 78 Lee Pulliam
  5. 1 Nolan Pope
  6. 14 Conner Jones
  7. 44 Justin Johnson
  8. 00 Averitt Lucas
  9. 51 Matt Cox -1
  10. 55 Mark Wertz -1
  11. 22 Timothy Peters -1
  12. 99 Austin Somero -1
  13. 95 Jacob Heafner -1
  14. 2 Braden Rogers -1
  15. 12 Sammy Smith -1
  16. 59 Heath Causey -1
  17. 60 RA Brown -1
  18. 03 Brenden Quenn -1
  19. 13 Wes Burton -1
  20. 12 Austin McDaniel -2
  21. 16 Casey Kelley OUT
  22. 19 Matt Craig OUT
  23. 88 Doug Barnes Jr. OUT
  24. 21 Dylan Ward OUT
  25. 2 Joshua Yeoman OUT
  26. 94 Jamie Weatherford OUT
  27. 09 Riley Gentry OUT
  28. 13 Bobby June OUT
  29. 22 Robert Powell OUT
  30. 22 Charlie Powell III OUT
  31. 98 Kevin Parsons OUT
  32. 15 Mitch Walker OUT
  33. 11 Blaise Brinkley OUT
  34. 18 Anthony Adams OUT
  35. 18 David Roberts OUT

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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