ThorSport Racing driver Ty Majeski was made available to media at Championship 4 Media Day on Thursday in Phoenix:
TY MAJESKI, No. 66 Road Ranger Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, ThorSport Racing
When you have a teammate in the Championship battle, do you race him any different?
“It’s certainly every man for himself. If it comes to it is between Ben (Rhodes) and I, I’m going to do what I need to do to win the championship, but I’m not going to put us in a position where neither of us would get it. I’m sure that he would lay the bumper to me. I would probably do the same – if it comes down to that. I just hope that neither of us put ourselves in position where neither of us win the championship for Duke and Rhonda (Thorson). At the end of the day, that was our goal coming into this season. I’m kind of wearing my ThorSport employee hat, not me as the racecar driver hat. We want to bring it home for them and are certainly not going to do anything that would put that in jeopardy.”
What do you think about you and Josh Berry both making the championship 4?
“I think you can look at it from a couple of different perspectives. We’ve had to pave out path a different way. I think Josh (Berry) is in his low thirties, I’m 28. That’s probably old to be developing in the lower series, but I think each of us in good opportunities – we could perform. We are kind of wearing that hat for short track, late model guys to pave their way to this level, almost solely by winning races. I think that is something that I certainly take pride in, and I know he does as well. Hopefully, we can each bring home a championship – that would be really, really cool for short track racers, in general.”
Does everything that you went through make you stronger now?
“Yes, certainly. I don’t think I would be in this position if I was handed an opportunity. I’m glad I’ve had to work for it, because I have learned so much in my career and I think a lot of that experience and what I have learned – having to do it the old fashion way – has yielded results for us this season. I love being a part of the conversation with Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief) and our engineer on what we need to do to this race trucks to be better and be a part of a decisions on how we go to the race track. I take a lot of pride in that. I love being a race car driver, but I also love being a part of it on the mechanical and engineering side, and that is something I take a lot of pride in on the short track level on my late model and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like I know enough about these trucks to help us be better week-to-week, and I think that is something that has been a ton of fun for myself this year.”
How much better can your feedback be because of your engineering background?
“It’s huge just knowing and understanding what you have from a setup and package perspective. Being able to know what to look for. I think sometimes it can skew my judgement because I have a preconceived notion, but I try not to skew my judgement in that. I think it’s been a balance handling those situations throughout the season. We’ve gotten better and I’ve gotten better at maybe not sending us down a wrong direction. The biggest learning curve for me this year was practice in the day and then transitioning into racing at night. Most of our truck races are night races, and I don’t have a lot of experience in what I need balance wise during the day and then transitioning that to night. I think over the course of the season, I’ve been able to build up points on how the track progress and I think will be huge going into this weekend.”
What would winning the championship this weekend mean to you?
“I think a lot of it would be relief. I’ve felt a lot of relief this season because of that. I don’t want to say that I was feeling pressure, but I feel like a lot of people thought that maybe I couldn’t truly succeed at this level and throughout the season I’ve been able to build up my confidence and have a good sense on what I need to do to be successful at this level and I think that has shown throughout the season. We’ve been able to cross our t’s and dot our I’s, put the little things together and come out and win two of the last three. It’s been just a relief, and I think if we are able to bring this championship home, that would be the icing on the cake from a great season so far.”
Is there one moment this season that sticks out to you as a defining moment?
“I don’t know if there was one moment – it was just a lot of little things that led up to this. I think we started off the season, maybe finishing well, but we weren’t putting all the stages together. I think throughout the season we’ve been consistent on all different types of race tracks, and then we were putting all three stages together inside the top-five, then it was leading laps and then we were winning races. I think we’ve led laps in the last six or seven races, which is a crazy stat. I never thought it would turn into that in the beginning of the season, but we’ve just been getting consistently better. Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief) and I have been getting better as a team, and the race team has corralled around us, and their confidence is at an all-time high and we are just ready to go this weekend and take it to them.”
What is your comfortability at Phoenix?
“I don’t have a ton of experience here, but historically at tracks that I haven’t had a ton of experience on, we’ve run really well this season, so I don’t think that will play a negative factor. I feel really good about Phoenix and the type of track that it is. Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief) is obviously a short track guy and his package runs really well on the short tracks. I feel like the race track fits his style and my style and I feel good about our package. We’ve put a lot of work in the simulator perfecting everything that we need to do to win on Friday and I’m excited for the opportunity to do so.”
This feels like the first time you’ve had a solid home in one of NASCAR’s national series. What has it been like to be with this ThorSport Racing family?
“Those guys are racers up there. One thing I noticed in Charlotte is a lot of people take it as a 7-4pm job. There was a traffic jam coming out with some of the teams I was with at 4. Up at ThorSport, they are racers. We work until whenever we need to. I look at it as it is a bunch of guys having fun building race trucks together. That is certainly the mindset that we have. It’s that short track mentality, so given my background, I fit in well right when I got with them. Duke and Rhonda (Thorson) built such a great culture up there. They are great people, great people to work for. I consider them friends at this point. We spend a lot of time together. It has been great to build that relationship, not only with them, but everybody internally at ThorSport. I truly love being at the shop there every day. I enjoy it. It's fun. I feel like having that mentality and being around people like that is recipe for success.”
ThorSport has built a championship pedigree with people like Matt Crafton, and now Ben Rhodes. What do you think is the biggest obstacle for you to overcome in Phoenix?
“I think it is going to take execution at all levels. I think the champion on Friday will have put a race together with zero mistakes. Phoenix is not a track you can’t afford to get back, as far as track position goes, it’s extremely aero sensitive. If you have a bad pit stop or a bad restart, it’s hard to recover from it. The champion on Friday is probably going to go through the race without a mistake and I think that needs to be us if we are going to be champions on Friday night.”
What was your full-time role at ThorSport?
“I don’t have my engineering degree, but I went up there in 2021 knowing that I was only going to run a handful of races. I took a backseat from a driving stand point. I went there to be an engineer, so my day-to-day job is Roamer arm. Each part, chassis, everything that has to do with the suspension of the truck gets scanned and gets a part number. We are able to take each component and choose it and basically build a model of the truck with each scanned number for each part, so it makes sim for us extremely accurate. It’s been great to actually touch each component. It’s forced me to learn a lot at a fast rate, and it has been able to bridge that gap between driving and the engineering standpoint. NASCAR, with the lack thereof of practice, teams have been putting a lot of effort on sim. It's been a big reason why some of the teams are successful and the reason why certain teams are not. We made the decision at the beginning of the season to rely on sim and build up data points throughout the season, and it has become incredibly useful for us. We’ve been living and dying by the sim, and I feel like the results on how we unload week-to-week has shown. We unload with great speed and the balance has showed up close. It is just a testament to sim.”
Are you still doing that yourself?
How did you get this opportunity to be full-time?
“Just timing. A lot of being successful in this sport is timing. You have to be with the right people at the right time, with the right equipment around you. Duke and Rhonda (Thorson) have provided that for me. In taking a backseat to racing last year, Duke and I had the vision that we wanted it to turn into this. There are no guarantees, but it was a risk I was willing to take, just knowing where ThorSport was at and what the age of some of their drivers were. I felt like within a decent amount of time there was going to be an opportunity there. I didn’t know it was going to be for 2022, but it happened quicker than I thought, but I’m certainly glad I took that risk in taking a backseat and hoping it would turn into this.”
What will your nerves be like tomorrow?
“Zero. I’ve achieved everything that I felt like I needed to this year to prove what I needed to. I feel like the championship would be icing on the cake for a great season. Our confidence level is high coming off winning two of the last three. We feel really good about where we are at. I don’t know if the other guys are nervous or not, but we don’t take it as another race, because it is not. I think anyone that says it’s another race, we are just going to do what we do, is lying. We’ve put a lot of preparation into this race, moreso than any other race throughout the season, which is natural. It’s the biggest race of the season for everybody, but from a mindset, I’m feeling no pressure. Just happy to be here, taking it all in. Taking in the moment and enjoying it and having fun. Just having a loose mentality. We are ready to go and let it all hang out Friday night.”
Do you believe in momentum?
“I certainly believe in momentum. My mentality coming in here is just calm and loose and confident. Coming in here with what I feel like is zero pressure, is a big difference for me compared to what it could be in a different situation. I do believe in it for sure.”
What do you think of the statement you have made by winning two of the last three races?
“I hope it intimidates them. We feel really good about where we are at as a race team. I feel internally within the 66 team that we are the favorites. We have the most momentum in the series for sure coming off of a really dominating win at Homestead. The thing about us is we have been on a constant uphill climb all season, and we are certainly peaking at the right time. I don’t think there is much denying that. I think we are the favorites and we have that mentality coming in and we are going to try to go and carry that into Friday night.”
Why do you think you are the favorite?
“I think we are peaking at the right time. It’s been a constant uphill climb, and I think this has been coming for quite some time. I feel like we have had the potential to go on a streak, and we have done the little things. We’ve led laps in the last six or seven races and that has been a huge confidence boost for us and we have been able to put the small things together – coming on and off pit road. The pit crew has really started to perform. I feel like I’m as confident as ever. I have a high level of communication between Joe (Shear, Jr., crew chief) and I. We’ve been able to unload really, really fast at all of these different type of race tracks that we haven’t been together. Taking all of those factors together, we are the favorites.”