It was Ty Majeski’s Snowball Derby to lose on Monday night, and in his opinion, it was taken from him by race control.
Majeski led twice for 139 laps and was coming to the white flag when a crash unfolded in Turn 2 between Cole Butcher, Travis Braden and Jeremy Doss. Stephen Nasse had just taken second-place from Casey Roderick and lined-up to the outside of Majeski on a restart with five green flag, non-consecutive laps to go.
Majeski did not fire off as well as he had all afternoon, and stacked-up the inside lane behind him, resulting in Roderick lifting the No. 91 off the ground. Majeski bounced off Nasse and was sent sideways in front of the field.
The sideways No. 91 was hit by almost the entire field, including Jeff Choquette, Chandler Smith, Derek Thorn, Giovanni Bromante, John Deangelis, Derek Kraus, Matthew Craig, Brad May, Michael Atwell and Cole Moore.
Majeski had been critique for his restarts by race director Nicholas Rogers and immediately blamed the tower for creating the circumstances around the incident.
“They were yelling at my restarts,” Majeski said. “First I was going too slow like a normal restart and then they wanted me to pick it up in Turn 3. Then they’re yelling at me for going too high. Firing in 3, I can’t keep it down off 4 so no matter what, I couldn’t seem to please them.
“It’s just frustrating. I don’t understand why we couldn’t do NASCAR style restarts. Just fire in the box, and as long as the leader is the first to go, everything goes from there. I don’t understand why we need a slow-moving start for the Derby. It’s just ridiculous.”
For his part, Roderick says he wanted to dart under Majeski, but just couldn’t keep himself off the rear-bumper once they connected on the exit of Turn 4.
“Majeski, the last few restarts, I wouldn’t say he was playing games, but race control was on him for being too slow,” Roderick said. “We picked it up these last couple. Jumped sideways when he got on the gas and got into (Nasse) and I was right there with him.
“I was looking to get under him if he slipped up any more and he got sideways when he hit the 51.”
Majeski sought out race director Nicholas Rogers after the race to understand what he should have been doing differently.
“The procedure was to start increasing speed in Turn 3, slowly and steadily increasing all the way through until you come off of 4 to the start-finish line,” Rogers said. “You cannot pass until the start-finish line. Those are the rules as they are done by multiple series — CRA and the SRL Series out west. I’m pretty sure the ARCA Midwest Tour does this. I know tracks up north use that same procedure. We used this at New Smyrna during Speedweeks too.
“Never really had an issue. It keeps from people playing jackrabbit coming into the box, touching the brakes, where the first five, six, seven rows have zero issues, but the accordion backs up the rear and it tears a lot of race cars up.
“This has kept that from happening and we’ve tore up a lot less race cars with these procedures. Going forward, you know, I’m not going to say there won’t be changes to two minor issues or tweaks here and there.”
Majeski was adamant that he isn’t threatening to boycott the race, but conceded that he agreed to disagree with Rogers over his restart procedures.
“I just wanted an understanding,” Majeski said. “He didn’t like any of my restarts up until the last one. He said he liked what I did there. (laughs) Obviously, I got junked up. He wanted the CRA Series style restarts and you’re a sitting duck as the leader that way.
“He wanted a slow gradual pace. And doing it with two to go in the Derby, you’re asking for trouble that way in my opinion. All of these guys are capable of running in NASCAR. These are the best short track drivers in the country. And to not have the leader have an advantage is completely ridiculous in my opinion. And that’s why we tore up a bunch of race cars. He says we’re going to reconsider for next year.
“I also think this has a lot to do with the configuration of 3 and 4 — it’s kind of a double apex corner. When you pick up the gas in 4, you need to have some room to apex again and when the guy next to you knows when you’re going to go, you’re an absolute sitting duck. The 22 was on my back bumper cover and I couldn’t know because of the gradual formation he wanted. To me it should have been the leader firing in the box just like NASCAR.”