Ty Majeski could lead almost at will Tuesday night.
He was fastest in qualifying at Wisconsin International Raceway, and despite an invert that left him on the inside of the seventh row to start the Gandrud Auto Group 250, it took he made quick work of getting to the front.
Majeski led at the first pit stop, ripped back through the field, stopped again and did it all over. As dominant in winning the race in 2019 — then and traditionally known as the Dixieland 250 — Majeski was all that and more on this unseasonably cool evening at Wisconsin International Raceway.
But here’s the funny part: The engine wasn’t running right.
“It was missing the whole race,” crew chief Toby Nuttleman said. “Man, we worked on it, flogged on it all day long and I couldn’t get it out of it. I guess it was good enough.”
Majeski led the final 79 laps after a brief battle following his second stop and cruised.
Cayden Lapcevich, the 20-year-old, 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion making his debut at the D-shaped half-mile, finished second, followed by ARCA Midwest Tour regular Paul Shafer, Austin Nason and Casey Johnson. Two-time and defending NASCAR champion Kyle Busch — the 2007 Dixieland winner — finished sixth.
The last driver to win consecutive editions of this race in its 37-year history was Johnny Sauter in 2010 and 2014, on both sides of a brief hiatus. Steve Carlson did so three times before that.
“This is my favorite racetrack,” said Majeski, who grew up in Seymour, a half hour drive from Kaukauna. “I feel like I get around here as good as I do any other racetrack. This is just a really good racetrack for me, and our package works really well here. I know what I’m looking for, I know what adjustments we need and how to communicate with Toby to get these cars really good here.”
Not that adjustments were a big part of the day. The 91 team started with essentially the same setup the car had last year — albeit with a different engine package from B&B — and tried a few things in practice but barely strayed. During the pit stops, all that changed was tire pressures, and the misfire didn’t get any worse.
“That car … I don’t know what it is. It’s just been phenomenal,” Nuttleman said. “It’s 4 years old and I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just one of them cars.”
Nuttleman has no idea how many times the car’s been to victory lane in its lifetime.
Majeski, though, has made four trips this year alone, once during Speedweek at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida in February, a third Rattler 250 title at South Alabama Speedway Speedway in May, a second Slinger Nationals in July and now a second straight time in this race.
Running a full season in the NASCAR truck series — and with schedules complicated by the coronavirus pandemic — Majeski has only made six Super Late Model starts.
While Lapcevich set the standard for travelers, many had rough nights.
Busch was consistent but never looked like he could challenge for a win. The same for Carson Hocevar, who finished seventh despite a spin in Brent Strelka’s oil slick that also caused Travis Braden to crash. Bubba Pollard didn’t qualify either on time or via the last-chance race and dropped out in 21st.
As is often the case in a 250-lapper here, the flagman kept busy with the yellow. None of them, though, helped Majeski’s challengers.
“Paul tried to jump me on that one restart and they let it go” Majeski said. “I was concerned he was going to clear me but thankfully we had a car that just rolled the center on the outside and I got position back on him and we were able to clear him.
“When you have a race car like this, you just try not to give it away and hope nothing crazy happens and it doesn’t come down to late-race restarts.”
- Ty Majeski
- Cayden Lapcevich
- Paul Shafer
- Austin Nason
- Casey Johnson
- Kyle Busch
- Justin Mondeik
- Carson Hocevar
- Dennis Prunty
- Maxwell Schultz
- Sammy Smith
- Jonathan Eilen
- Dalton Zehr
- Johnny Sauter
- Bobby Kendall
- John Deangelis
- Luke Fenhaus
- Boris Jurkovic
- Ricky Baker
- Andy Monday
- Derek Kraus
- Bubba Pollard
- Travis Braden
- Brent Strelka
- Ryan Farrell
- Rich Bickle Jr.
- Gabe Sommers
- Grant Giesbach
- RJ Braun
- Jeff Van Oudenhoven