By AMANDA VINCENT
Ty Majeski kicked off the round of eight of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs Thursday night with with his first-career win in the UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor. With the victory, Majeski cemented himself a position among the four-driver battle for the series championship at Phoenix Raceway in November. The win came in Majeski’s 40th-career Truck Series start but his first on the regular concrete surface at Bristol.
“This is unbelievable. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this,” Majeski said. “Thank you to Duke, Rhonda and Allison Thorson (truck owners); thank you for this opportunity. Just so proud to be here. We came, guns blazing, for this race and brought our best truck. Joe (Shear, crew chief) was aggressive on pit strategy, got us out front, and we were able to get it done. This is so cool, and my crew has been so up and down. There’s been a lot of people who have helped get me to this point. I know my Late Model guys are watching back at the shop, and they’re a big part of me getting here. My parents, my fiancé, this is just damn cool. Road Ranger, Toyota, TRD and all that they do for us – I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Majeski took the lead from Zane Smith on a lap-157 restart. Smith finished second after starting the race in the back. Smith failed to make a qualifying attempt earlier in the day because of a mechanical issue.
“Just had to do what I do. I’ve been in that position a lot in my career Late Model racing, and we’ve been fortunate enough to win a lot of races and this was just another restart,” Majski said of holding off Smith on a final restart inside the final 20 laps.
Parker Kligerman finished third and Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five.
With the ability to run the 200-lap race distance with only one pit stop, pit strategies varied throughout the race. Some drivers opted to stop after the first stage, some after the second and others during a caution for an on-track incident.
Chandler Smith, after dominating the first half of the race, gave up the lead to make his pit stop after the second stage. He restarted 15th and finished the race ninth after leading a race-high 89 laps.
Zane Smith, after pitting in the first half of the race, was among the drivers who stayed out after stage two and inherited the lead.
Chandler Smith won both of the 55-lap stages after starting on the front row and taking the lead from pole sitter Derek Kraus on lap 28.
“I guess it is an okay day. I don’t know how stage points really matter; every little bit counts, especially if two drivers win these next two races and they’re playoff drivers,” Chandler Smith said. “It’s always good, so we can point our way in. We want to go to Talladega or Miami and win it, so we don’t have to worry about it. We had this one circled for us to win. I felt like we had a dominant truck. We had a really, really fast Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro tonight. Once we went stage racing, they played track position at the very end and the 66 (Majeski) and 38 (Zane Smith) were able to get up front. Us and the 52 (Stewart Friesen) were the only two that passed all night. I don’t know how to fix that. It wasn’t good fun racing; I can promise you that. Us as a group, we were just a little bit too tight coming back through the field. I felt like if we were freer, we would have had something for them, but we ran so many caution laps as well. We would have probably run out of time no matter what.”
Stewart Friesen was second to Chandler Smith at the end of both stages and also pitted after stage two.
Other top-10 finishers included Kraus in sixth, Friesen seventh, Christian Eckes eighth, and Corey Heim in 10th.