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Feature

ASHLEY ASKS….. Ty Majeski

After running a limited schedule across the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series the past three years, Ty Majeski is ready for the full truck campaign with Niece Motorsports in 2020.

The Wisconsin native recently spoke with POPULAR SPEED about his thoughts entering the season.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts as we look forward to the 2020 season?

Russell Labounty | NKP

TY MAJESKI: Obviously for myself, incredibly excited to be full time just in general. I’ve been doing some NASCAR stuff since 2017; it’s always been three races here, 12 races there, six races there. It’ll be good to finally get in a rhythm with the team. As a young and up-and-coming racer, you just want to have a good opportunity to race full-time with good people and good equipment, and I’m excited for that opportunity this year. I’m ready to make the best of it.

PS: What are your goals and expectations for the year?

MAJESKI: I think the biggest thing for me is to establish a rhythm, and obviously get in tune with the team. Some of the guys that I worked with before are on the team, so I’m excited for that. But just to establish consistency and eventually compete for wins. I mean, we expect to run well. This team is proven and obviously I feel in the right opportunity I am able to go and win races, and that’s our goal.

PS: What track are you most looking forward to?

MAJESKI: I think the one for me is probably Martinsville. It’s a track that I’ve always wanted to race at. Obviously, you grow up watching on TV or playing iRacing on it. For me, I ran the Xfinity Series and doesn’t go there – or hasn’t in the past, so that’s definitely one I’m looking forward to. I have a lot of laps there virtually, but none in real life, so I’m excited to get there and race that track.

Barry Cantrell | NKP

PS: You’ve been able to gain a lot of experience to date. What’s the biggest thing that you have picked up on that you feel will help you now that you’re full-time?

MAJESKI: I think the biggest thing is working with a lot of different people. You learn a lot of stuff, and I’ve gotten the chance to work with a lot of good people, just maybe not in the right situations. I think you need to take bits and pieces from each situation and opportunity and take all that knowledge and apply that to your current opportunity. I think, to date, this is going to be my best opportunity as a up-and-coming racer, and I’m just excited to get going. I can’t wait for Daytona.

PS: What would it mean to you if one day you could reach the top level and be in the Cup Series?

MAJESKI: That’s obviously my goal. As a kid, I never thought it was possible. I’m a first generation racer from a small town in Wisconsin and I never thought it’d turn into what it is has, and obviously it’s come realistic in the last few years, and we’re going to do everything that we can for ourselves to do that.

PS: Last year, you made a lot of headlines across the board. What was your favourite moment from 2019?

MAJESKI: I would say winning my first ARCA race, especially at Charlotte. Obviously Charlotte is the hub of NASCAR and motorsports in the U.S. and to go win on the home turf of motorsports was really cool. Then to be back it up, I won at home track in Chicago a few weeks later. Those are two pretty cool wins for me for different reasons.

Nigel Kinrade | NKP

PS: We’ve gotten to know you as a late model racer across the country. How many races can we expect to see you run in 2020?

MAJESKI: We’re putting the schedule together right now; it looks like it’ll end up between 10 and 15 late model races. There’s a lot of holes in the truck series schedule. Between middle of February and middle of November, we only race 23 weekends, so there’s definitely opportunities for me to run some late model races.

PS: Who would you call your racing hero?

MAJESKI: I think that changes as growing up, I think it’s different than it is now. For awhile there, I looked up to Alan Kulwicki and how he did things and how he went to school and got his engineering degree, and had a do it yourself attitude. He was the guy working in the shop himself, but also an owner, a driver, and he had the capabilities of being a crew chief; that’s something that I strive to be like.

Now a days, you see drivers that just show up to the race track and drive; I take pride in knowing what I’m racing and doing the best that I can to know what I am racing to make better adjustments and give better feedback to my crew chief.

PS: Given your career path to date, what would be one piece of advice that you’d offer to that next driver out there?

MAJESKI: I think the big thing is to surround yourself with good people. Just like anything else, just in general, if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen. The racecars and equipment can be good, but if you don’t have the right people working on it and guiding you, you won’t get anywhere. That’s been the biggest thing for me in my career is I always try to put myself in the best situations with the best people, and so far it has worked out for me.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Home Tracks

Jagger Jones Returns Home for First Race at ISM Raceway

AVONDALE, Arizona — The Arizona Lottery 100 at ISM Raceway was the final stop on the circuit for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, but was also the first race in a NASCAR sanctioned series at his hometown facility for Jagger Jones.

“This is my first time racing here at ISM Raceway and it’s obviously so different from watching in the stands,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED.  “Growing up watching the races here and now being able to race here is super cool. I’m looking forward to it, it’s cool to be the local kid for once because usually I’m traveling all around the west coast – all around the country really for races, so it’s cool to race here in my hometown.”

The Scottsdale, Arizona-Native entered the series finale ranked second in the standings – and this was as high as he could soar, being that all points leader Derek Kraus had to do at the 1.5-mile speedway was start the race to lock up the 2019 Championship.

Jones would go on to put down a sixth-best qualifying lap, putting him on the outside of Drew Dollar to start the 100 Lap event.

“We have a really competitive field here this weekend,” the 17-year old admitted. “We’ve struggled a little bit on the bigger tracks for our series, so I think if we can get up inside the top-five it’ll be a good say for us.”

When the green flag waved atop the unique LED-cactus flag stand, Sam Mayer raced from the lead and did not surrender that position until 12 laps remaining – when race-winner Ty Gibbs passed him after the 16-year old made contact with Ty Majeski on a three-wide restart.

A good majority of the race was a product of single-file long-run racing in which Jones saw himself mainly battling with fan-favorite, Hailie Deegan for the eighth-spot.  After a healthy-dose of cautions in the final 30 laps of the race, Jones didn’t quite salvage that top-five he’d hoped to attain in pre-race, finishing sixth.

The driver of the No. 6 was able to hold on to the second-ranked position in the standings. He finished the year with eight top-fives, 11 top-10s, one pole award, 248 laps led and his first win – which came at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.

It’s safe to say that after what can be deemed an incredibly impressive season that Jones will be one of the young talents who will be in NASCAR for years to come.

“We’re setting up things for next season,” said the Arizona-native. “They’re changing the whole series in 2020, so we’re just trying to put everything together for that. Next year I want to run a lot of races and win as many as I can – those are my main goals for he offseason.”

EMAIL COLE AT: colecusumano88@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Cole_Cusumano_

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

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News

Ty Majeski Scores Third ARCA Menards Series Win of 2019 in Bounty 150 at Chicagoland

Ty Majeski (No. 22 Crestliner Boats Ford) scored his third ARCA Menards Series win of the season with a dominant performance in the Bounty 150 on Thursday night at Chicagoland Speedway. Majeski led 72 of the race’s 100 laps and at times opened up a 12-second advantage on the field. Several late-race cautions allowed the field to close the gap, but Majeski would reopen the advantage repeatedly, eventually winning by 9.179 seconds over second-place finisher Harrison Burton (No. 20 Ruud Toyota).

“We’ve won all three races in a different way,” Majeski said. “We didn’t have the best car at Charlotte and beat them on a couple of late race restarts, we got them in the pits at Pocono, we almost got them on fuel mileage at Michigan and we wore them out with the best car here tonight.”

Majeski’s biggest challenge throughout was to stay focused on hitting his marks and not abusing his tires.

“The last thing I wanted to do was to build up a fifteen second lead and blow the right front out from driving it too hard and abusing it,” Majeski said. “I just wanted to hit my marks and keep the car out of trouble and bring it home. This is as much about showcasing Chad Bryant Racing and the stuff they build as it is showing the world what I can do and it would make me look horrible to throw away a car that dominant.”

The battle behind Majeski over the last 20 laps was intense and Burton, Bret Holmes (No. 23 Techworks Trailers Chevrolet), Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), and Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) all swapped positions throughout. Burton would end up coming out on top of that battle.

Burton is doing double duty this weekend, bouncing back and forth between the ARCA car and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck garage.

“The two drive so differently,” Burton said. “There’s a lot more off-throttle time in the ARCA car. It’s a bit of an adjustment after spending so much time in the Truck. We had a great night with the Venturini Motorsports team. We aren’t running for the drivers championship over here, but they are leading in the owner’s points and it’s really important for us to keep them up front.”

Holmes finished third, his best finish of the season, a year after parking his family-owned team for this race as the team struggled with performance.

“Last year at this time we were 450 points out of the points lead and had run every race,” Holmes said. “This year we are 30 points out of the lead. It’s a night and day change. We’re getting better every week. We finished ahead of Michael (Self) tonight but he still will get those bonus points for the pole and leading laps. That’s the next step we need to make as a team. We went from the top ten to the top five. Now we need to go to finishing first or second and leading laps.”

Self ended up fourth after starting from the General Tire Pole, but it was an adventurous night.

“I made a couple of mistakes on pit road that cost us a lot of spots,” Self said afterwards. “I left before the left rear tire was on the car on the final stop and instead of restarting fourth we restarted ninth. The last lap was a good one, the best lap I ran all night. I wish we could have had a couple more laps so I could do more of what we did on the last lap.”

Braden rounded out the top five.

“It was great to be here and be competitive with the guys at the front of the pack,” he said. “We know what we need to do. We know we aren’t where we need to be. Nights like tonight show us we can get to where we need to be and compete with these guys.”

The race got off to a halting start as three caution flags were displayed in the first twenty laps. The first was when Morgen Baird (No. 11 Founders Brewing Company/Rave Associates Toyota) stalled in turn four on lap 5, the second was when Jason Miles (No. 1 NJC Real Estate Ford) suffered nose damage on the ensuing restart, and the third was when Eric Caudell (No. 7 Honoring America’s Warriors Toyota) spun into the infield on lap 17.

Other cautions involved Tanner Gray (No. 54 Valvoline/Durst Inc.), who slapped the wall in turns one and two on lap 54, Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) who spun with a flat left rear tire on lap 64, and Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) who spun into the backstretch grass on lap 77. The six cautions slowed the field for a total of 31 laps and kept the race’s average speed to 112.617 miles per hour.

There were six lead changes among four drivers. Self, Eckes, and Burton all led in addition to Majeski.

The ARCA Menards Series will take next weekend off before returning to action in the Menards 250 at Elko Speedway on Saturday July 12. Practice will begin at 2:15 pm ET/1:15 pm CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 6:15 pm ET/5:15 pm CT, and the race will go green shortly after 10 pm ET/9 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV, and ARCA for Me members can follow along with free live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates at ARCARacing.com. Discounted tickets are available at Minneapolis/St. Paul-area Menards locations.

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News

Two In A Row For Ty Majeski!!

Ty Majeski (No. 22 Crestliner Ford) scored his second consecutive ARCA Menards Series victory in come-from-behind fashion in Friday’s General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 at Pocono Raceway. Majeski trailed race leader Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) by nearly twenty seconds prior to the only caution of the afternoon but was able to stay in contact with him after the race went back green. Majeski was able to get off pit road quicker than Herbst with 12 laps remaining and was able to lead the rest of the way for the win.

“It’s all about being with the right people,” Majeski said. “Being with Chad Bryant and Paul Andrews has been incredible. They have put together a great team and the guys all work hard to make days like today happen.”

Majeski credited his final pit stop and the way he worked through lapped traffic for his win.

“Coming to pit road I thought I could have gotten a little more, but I maximized my speed,” he said. “I came into the box hot and got out pretty good. I knew it was going to be tough for the 18 to match that. I saw him leaving his pit and knew he would have to use the apron in turn one and I had a good head of steam going.”

“You don’t want to catch the lapped cars at the wrong time,” he said. “I tried to back myself up so I caught the lapped cars at the right time and it really helped.”

“Any seat time is good seat time,” Majeski said. “I don’t have a lot of seat time compared to some of the guys that are younger than I am. To be able to run races two weeks in a row is huge for me. We really hit it off well.”

Herbst dominated the first 68 laps of the day, leading by nearly twenty seconds before the caution waved for Bobby Gerhart’s stalled car. Once the race went back green, Herbst still led but Majeski was able to stay in contact, under one second behind. Herbst led as they came to the pits, Majeski on lap 67 and Herbst on lap 68, but Majeski was able to make up time and steal the lead as Herbst exited pit lane.

“I wish it was the fall race when it’s only 60 laps,” a dejected Herbst said. “We freed it up a lot and I couldn’t get the throttle down off one one and three. He closed up there at the end and we put two tires on at the end and swung for the fence but I couldn’t make a run on him.”

“The 18 car has finished second a lot this season,” he said, referring to the second-place finishes for the team with himself driving at Talladega and Ty Gibbs driving at Pensacola and Toledo. “That’s good for the owner’s standpoint but I am here to win races and prove myself for the other ranks and I didn’t do that today.”

Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) finished third but had an adventurous day.

“We lost brakes with about 25 laps to go,” Eckes said. “We had a fast car but we fought balance all day. We took some swings and it and put ourselves in position to make a run at it but we lost a lot of time on pit road without any brakes.”

Raphael Lessard (No. 28 Thermal-Bois Cabinets Chevrolet) finished fourth and Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Southern States Bank Toyota) rounded out the top five.

Championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) fought an alternator issue that resulted in an eleventh-place finish.

Practice for the VizCom 200 at Michigan International Speedway is slated for 8 am ET on Friday, June 7, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 12 noon, with the 100-lap, 200-mile race slated to go green shortly after 6 pm ET. The race will be televised live on FS1. ARCA for Me members can access free live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for all on-track sessions at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For ticket information log on to MISpeedway.com or call 888-905-7223.

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News

Ty Majeski Scores First Career ARCA Menards Series Victory in General Tire 150 at Charlotte

Ty Majeski (No. 22 Crestliner Ford) scored a surprise victory in Thursday night’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, taking the lead on a late restart and holding off Sheldon Creed (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) and Gus Dean (No. 32 Icebox Helmet Coolers Chevrolet) in a two-lap dash to the checkered.

Majeski benefitted when the race’s dominant driver Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) tapped the outside wall on lap 85. ARCA officials displayed the caution, but Self stayed out as the rest of the lead lap cars came to pit road for tires. Self restarted as the leader but drifted back through the field as Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) took over the lead. Holmes led through lap 95 when Majeski took the lead.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Majeski, however, as the caution came out on lap 99, just as the field had taken the white flag for a crash involving Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) entering turn three. Majeski had to endure another restart when Codie Rohrbaugh (No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet) made contact with the wall in turn two.

Despite the late race excitement, Majeski drove to a quarter-second advantage on the final lap over Creed.

“Restarts were crazy tonight,” Majeski said. “Clean air is king. The 23 (Holmes) had two new tires and was able to hold off the 18 (Herbst) who had four tires because he had clean air. I worked the top and worked the top and was able to make up some ground and get around him.”

Creed was penalized for speeding on his last stop at lap 92, but was able to quickly knife his way through the field.

“I knew I didn’t want to speed and I watched the tach the whole way down pit road,” Creed said. “I looked up to find my pit stall and and I looked back down and knew it was going to be close. ARCA called me for it and it was all on me. We had a great car and got through the field pretty quick. I hate what happened with the 18 down the backstretch. He gave me the bottom the lap before and then threw a block pretty hard on the top side the next lap. I am not the kind of guy to just turn someone into the fence, but I am not the kind of guy that wants to get blocked like that either.”

Dean was happy with a third-place result after spending much of the race at the back half of the top ten.

“We started eleventh and moved up to eighth in the first five laps,” he said, “but that’s all we could get until lap 90. Those last ten laps seemed like a totally different race. We went from eighth to second and eventually finished third. The restarts were wild. We had about six or eight cars there going for it. It was really intense. These cars race totally different than the (NASCAR Gander Outdoors) Truck I am used to. It was a lot of fun to be back.”

Majeski was relieved to pick up his first career ARCA Menards Series win after a disappointing 2018 season.

“Last year was really tough,” he said. “It’s great to come back with Chad Bryant Racing and run well every time. I don’t bring a lot of money, I got here on talent and results and when you have a bad year like we did last year there’s a chance people won’t want to work with you. Thankfully I have some great people behind me. It’s great to get Chad and Paul Andrews into victory lane. They haven’t had the results they’ve wanted this year either so it’s a big night for all of us.”

Self led 91 of the race’s 109 laps before fading after he tapped the outside wall. He was disappointed with how his night ended up.

“I just made a mistake and got greedy,” Self said. “I just pushed it a little too hard and made a mistake. I wish they didn’t throw the caution. We still salvaged a top five which is good, I guess.”

There were two lead changes among three drivers and seven cautions for a total of 38 laps. Majeski’s winning average speed was 109.426 miles per hour. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) was involved in the first caution of the night and was transported to a local hospital after the race for evaluation after the crush panels were knocked out allowing exhaust fumes into the car.

Unofficially, Self leads the ARCA Menards Serie standings by 25 points over Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) and 35 points over Holmes.

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 at Pocono Raceway on Friday, May 31. Practice starts at 9 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 12 noon. The race is scheduled to start at 5:45 pm ET and will be televised live on FS2 with a same day replay on FS1 at 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for free at ARCARacing.com. Now users may join for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For tickets, log on to PoconoRaceway.com or call 800-RACEWAY.

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XFINITY

ASHLEY ASKS…… Ty Majeski

Following a multitude of success in Late Models, Ty Majeski got the opportunity from Roush Fenway Racing to run three NASCAR XFINITY Series races last year, scoring a season-best 10th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Now primed with an expanded schedule for 2018, the 23-year-old took some time to share his thoughts with POPULAR SPEED.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the 2018 season?

TY MAJESKI: I’m optimistic about it. I know Roush Fenway has put a lot of resources in continuing to make our racecars better, and Mike Kelley has good experience, winning a few championships with Ricky Stenhouse (Jr.). So I think it’ll be a good year for all of us drivers, being able to lean on each other and make each other better as the year progresses.

PS: What are your goals and expectations for the year?

TY: I think the biggest thing for me is to continue to get better each and every race. The biggest thing is to continue to get better on pit road. I don’t have a ton of experience doing pit stops, or anything like that, so it will be important for me to execute in those areas and continue to improve as the year goes on.

PS: What track are you most excited to get to?

TY: I would say Bristol (Motor Speedway). I remember growing up as a kid, and going to the Bristol race every spring. Now I will be competing in it, so it’s pretty special for me. it’s just a really cool race track – multiple grooves, real racey, and it’s a short track, and that’s kind of where I’ve grown up racing.

PS: Running the three races last year, what surprised you the most?

TY: I don’t know if it was one thing in particular. Probably just the aerodynamics of it. Obviously, you’re going so much faster than you are on a short track, which is what I am used to. So I went to Homestead(-Miami Speedway), for example, a mile-and-a-half, and there’s so much aerodynamics. Just playing with the air, when you get behind a car and what it does to the balance, and just learning how to navigate and pass with the aerodynamic differences in traffic versus by yourself.

PS: Of course, you started off this year in a big way with the Rolex 24. How was that experience for you?

TY: That was great. I can’t thank Ford Performance and everybody at Multimatic Race Performance for giving us Ford drivers the opportunity to make ourselves better racecar drivers on road courses. It was my first ever road course race, so to get on the podium was pretty special.

PS: How did you get started in racing?

TY: I started racing go-karts when I was nine-years-old, and just continued up the ranks – dirt oval go-kart racing, and moved into a short track late model when I was 16 or 17. I just kept moving up the ranks from there.

PS: You’ve had a lot of late model success to date. What’s been your most memorable win to date?

TY: I don’t know if there’s one particular race that sticks out in my mind. I would say just being able to be consistent and be one of the top short track drivers/teams for three, four years in a row. It’s hard to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay there. I felt like we did a great job of doing that for three or four years now, and that’s something to be proud of for our whole team.

PS: With your XFINITY schedule in hand, will we see you in a Late Model this year?

TY: Yes, I will be running some Late Model events. Right now, we have five on the schedule, but are looking to add some more here as the rest of my schedule gets finalized.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Roush Fenway Racing To Field Driver Development Team

Three of the sport’s young stars will get to develop their talent under the guidance of a championship organization in 2018. 

Roush Fenway Racing announced on Monday they will field the No. 60 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season, with three young drivers sharing duties – Ty Majeski, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

“Driver development has always been part of our DNA at Roush Fenway and Jack Roush has always taken pride in providing opportunities for up and coming drivers,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “All three of these drivers have exhibited a great deal of potential on and off the track and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch as they hone their skills together and grow into the next generation of champions in our sport.”

Majeski has been under the Roush Fenway banner for awhile, making three XFINITY Series starts for the organization in 2017 with a career-best 10th this past weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Regarded as one of the most impressive up-and-coming drivers, he scored 20 wins and 29 top-three finishes in 32 Late Model events this year. He also won his fourth consecutive ARCA Midwest Tour Championship with six wins in 12 events.

Rusty Jarrett | NKP

Cindric and Briscoe each join the fold after competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this past year for Brad Keselowski Racing, which closed doors at season’s end.

Cindric picked up eight top-fives and a win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in his rookie season, advancing all the way to the Championship 4 of the NCWTS playoffs. The 19-year-old also has experience in rallycross, IMSA, ARCA, and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

The 2017 campaign was also Briscoe’s rookie year, which saw 10 top-fives en en route to placing sixth in the standings. He scored his career series victory by dominating the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He got the chance following a championship in ARCA competition in 2016 with six victories. 

The entry is the result of a partnership between Roush Fenway, Ford Performance and Team Penske. Mike Kelley will serve as the crew chief; Kelley led Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to a pair of XFINITY titles in 2011 and 2012.

Details surrounding sponsorship, or the amount of races per driver will be released by the team at a later date.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

Categories
News

The Future Stars of NASCAR Announced

The 2017-18 class of the NASCAR Next program, was announced on Tuesday and includes some familiar second-generation names, as well as drivers whom you may never heard of.

The program was established to help develop and highlight young drivers who aspire to compete at NASCAR’S top levels. Alumni include current stars Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, and Chase Elliott.

“The NASCAR Next program identifies emerging talent in our sport,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president, and chief marketing officer. “Drivers in this year’s class have already achieved success on the track or shown potential, and this program will help them further develop their skills. We look forward to watching these young stars connect with our fans and continue their climb up the NASCAR ladder.”

The selection process includes consulting industry executives, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers Council and media members. The candidates are chosen from a pool of drivers between the ages of 15-25, who are actively racing at local tracks or lower-tier NASCAR series.

Here is a breakdown of the 2017-18 class.

Harrison Burton from Huntersville, North Carolina is in his second year of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, with two wins to his credit. The 16-year-old is the son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeff Burton.

Chase Cabre is a rookie in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, driving for Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for the Diversity program. The 16-year-old picked up his first two pole awards in twin features at South Boston, before scoring a best-career finish of fourth.

Hailie Deegan has made a name for herself in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series, becoming the first female to score a podium in series history last season. The daughter of FMX legend Brian Degan won the Lucas Oil Off Road Modified Kart Championship last season.

Todd Gilliland from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina is running both NASCAR K&N Pro Series divisions in 2017, along with a limited NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland won the Pro Series East Championship last year.

Riley Herbst raced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last season, scoring seven top-fives in 14 races. The Joe Gibbs Racing development driver is competing full-time in the ARCA Racing Series for 2017.

Cayden Lapcevich was a Canadian stand-out last year, winning three events en route to being crowned the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Champion in his rookie season.

Tj Majeski recently signed a development contract with Roush Fenway Racing to run a select number of NASCAR XFINITY Series events in 2017. The 22-year-old kicked off last year by winning the Super Late Model championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, followed by a third-place finish in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings.

Chase Purdy from Meridan, Mississippi took home NASCAR Whelen All-American Series rookie honors last year with a track championship at Greenville Pickens Speedway. The 17-year-old is racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year.

Zane Smith put himself on the scene  by winning the Super Late Model championship at New Smyrna’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in 2015. He finished off the year with a runner-up to Elliott at the Snowball Derby.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Majeski to Make XFINITY Debut in the Midwest

Last week, it was announced 22-year-old Roush Fenway Racing development driver, Ty Majeski will make his XFINITY Series debut at Iowa Speedway in June.

The young talent has garnered much attention around the Midwest, and now the rest of the country is beginning to take notice. He made four starts in the ARCA Racing Series in 2016 for Roulo Brothers Racing, finishing as high as fourth at Madison.

Now, Majeski is ready to take on a new challenge and officially begin his NASCAR career.

“It’s a huge step, but I can’t just go out there and simply finish the race. I need to go out and perform, just like anyone else,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “I know it’s a hard goal to reach, but I’m aiming for a top 10 there.”

Majeski will feel somewhat at home, as Iowa Speedway is the heart of the Midwest and it’s close to his native Wisconsin. There will be a break-in period, though, as Majeski has never raced at Iowa Speedway.

“I’ve never been to Iowa Speedway, so it doesn’t make much of a difference if it’s Iowa or any other track I’ve never been to. I just want to learn as much as I can before we get there,” Majeski said.

Majeski fits among NASCAR’s new-age drivers in the way he prepares to race at tracks he’s never seen.

“iRacing is a huge tool for learning how to drive racetracks and simulate live race conditions like tire falloff and track surfaces,” he said. “I’ll also spend some time in the Ford simulator as well.”

He’s also leaning on people who have racing experience. One of the people he goes to with questions is Cale Gale, a former development driver for Kevin Harvick Incorporated and competed at both the Truck and XFINITY levels.

“Cale Gale is a guy who I’ve been able to lean on and gain valuable information just through our conversations,” Majeski said.

One of the things Majeski and his team prides themselves in is working hard and letting their performance do the talking, not money. He wasn’t fast-tracked to be the next superstar. Instead, he spent time in each of the ranks and gained experience, and more importantly, learned how to race.

“We’re doing it the old-fashioned way,” Majeski said. “It’s really special to go out and win races and make it through the ranks the right way. When you surround yourself with good people, good things happen, and that’s a testament what this team has been able to do.”

Majeski has high hopes for 2017, as he is set to make five or six starts in the ARCA Racing Series in an attempt to gain valuable experience competing on 1.5-milers before going full-time in either the Camping World Truck Series or the XFINITY Series beyond this year.

You can watch Majeski make his XFINITY debut in the American Ethanol E15 250 on June 24th.

Shane Carlson is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL SHANE AT shane.carlson@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ShaneCarlson4

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Roulo Bros. Quietly Developing Winners

Ty Majeski makes his first left turn tomorrow in the ARCA Racing Series’ Montgomery Ward 200, at the Madison (WI) Speedway. It is expected to set a path towards a successful career in NASCAR’s major leagues

The Midwest Late Model standout, recently selected as member of the NASCAR Next class for budding stars, has two key components in his corner. He’s Roush Fenway Racing’s newest development driver and he’s got the competition support of Roulo Bros. Racing.

You may not be familiar with the team — who has a history and track record of creating champions in stock car racing.

In 1979, Gary Roulo and his brother, Rusty, formed Roulo Brothers Racing. Together, they established a brand associated with winning and have had some of the nation’s best talents behind the wheel.

Among the drivers that have competed for RBR are Alan Kulwicki, Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Dick Trickle, Joe Ruttman, and more recently the likes of Kyle Benjamin, David Ragan, and reigning XFINITY Series champion, Chris Buescher — who also won the ARCA title with the Roulo Bros. in 2012.

This weekend, Majeski will join the list.

The 21-year-old, the Seymour, Wisconsin driver already has many accolades. A two-time ARCA Midwest Touring champion, Majeski has scored wins in some of the most prestigious late model races in the country.

He has taken the checkers home at New Smyrna in the 2015 Governor’s Cup and the 2016 World Series of Asphalt Championship and he’s no stranger to Victory Lane at Madison International Speedway, where he makes his ARCA debut, having won both the 4oth Annual Rattler 250 and Joe Shear Classic earlier this year.

Originally, RBR set out to go racing in the American Speed Association (ASA) with their first race at the Milwaukee Mile in 1979, but they have since made a name for themselves in the ARCA Racing Series as a developmental team for Roush Fenway Racing.

RBR started winning races in the ‘80s and they haven’t stopped since.

It was 2005 when the Roulo Bros. and Roush Fenway Racing formed an collaborated to groom talent in the ARCA Racing Series, before they got to RFR at the NASCAR level.

David Ragan served as the first true development driver for the team. Ragan went on to win XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series races for RFR.

2016 will mark the 30th consecutive season competing in at least one ARCA event for Roulo Brothers Racing, yet they don’t wave their own flags very high.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” Gary said, “but that’s because we’re dedicated to grooming talent for the NASCAR ranks. I feel we’ve been successful at doing that and it’s what drives us to work hard.”

In the driver development world, Roulo Bros. Racing isn’t the first name to come to mind.

Said Roulo, “Yeah, we don’t really make a big deal out of it. We don’t do any marketing and we’re kind of under the radar. But at the end of the day, when you have a team like Roush Fenway sending drivers your way, that’s probably enough of an endorsement for us.”

The team doesn’t just provide competitive equipment.

“You can give a kid the best stuff, throw him the keys and hope for the best — knowing that you’ve done your job,” he continued, “but we also serve as driver coaches and mentors. We’ve been to all the tracks so we can offer a lot of advice.”

Gary and his team aren’t the only ones who help develop drivers, but they’ve been one of the most successful.

“A lot of teams offer ‘driver development’ programs, but that’s not really an accurate definition,” Roulo said, “that’s more of a driver opportunity program. Kids and their families bring money to get fast cars. But we offer a lot more because we’ve seen just about every scenario in the development process.”

Ty Majeski, who led both practices and starts 7th on the grid, could be another success story for Roulo Bros. Racing and Roush Fenway. It all begins tomorrow at 2:00 PM Central.

Part Two will be published here on Tuesday.

 

Shane Carlson is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL SHANE AT shane.carlson@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ShaneCarlson4

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.