PHOENIX — For years, Ty Majeski earned a reputation as a driver who can rip it at a local Wisconsin short track. When he got his first real NASAR opportunity in 2018, it was in the cursed No. 60 Xfinity Series ride at Roush Fenway Racing.
Last spring, though, he bet on himself and took and took a backseat to the driving aspect. Instead, he took a non-driving gig at ThorSport Racing, as the team wanted to work with him since 2016.
Majeski didn’t have his engineering degree, but took a role in the Sandusky, Ohio race shop to engineer with the team’s four trucks. While he didn’t help call strategy with a specific truck, he was assigned to the romer arm, where he scanned every piece that goes on to every truck.
“Each part, chassis, anything that has anything to do with the suspension, it’s scanned and gets a part number,” Majeski said at Thursday’s Championship 4 Media Day at the Phoenix Convention Center. “We’re able to take each component, choose it and basically build a model of the truck with scan numbers for each part. It makes sim for us extremely accurate and it’s been great to actually touch each component of the race truck.
“It’s forced me to learn a lot at a fast rate. It’s been able to bridge that gap between the driving and engineering standpoint.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, NASCAR condensed the practice length for each of the top three national touring series. That makes teams rely more on simulation.
Relying on sim helps a team like ThorSport.
“We made the decision at the beginning of the season to rely on sim and data points throughout the season, and it’s become incredibly useful for us,” Majeski. “We’ve been living and dying by the sim, and the results of how we unload week-to-week have shown. We unload with great speed, the balance is always close.”
This isn’t Majeski’s first time working with a simulator. As a competitive iRacer with hundreds of race wins, he’s accustomed to putting in long hours on sim.
Majeski is in the mix of a career renaissance season. He never won a NASCAR race prior to the Round of 8 opener at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 66 team took two out of three checkered flags in the round and they are entering the championship race at Phoenix Raceway with a load of momentum.
He believes the reason he’s in this position is based on timing. He met up with Duke and Rhonda Thorson and it was a natural fit.
“We work until whenever we need to,” Majeski said of ThorSport. “I look at it as a bunch of guys having fun building race trucks together and going racing. That’s the mindset we have, that short track mentality.”
In the back of Majeski’s mind, he knew that the age of a couple of ThorSport’s drivers were rising. When veteran Johnny Sauter wanted to run a part time schedule this season, Majeski was the easy choice for the No. 66 Toyota. The opportunity to drive came much quicker than he anticipated.
“Duke and I had the vision that we wanted it to turn into this,” Majeski noted. “There’s no guarantees, but it was a risk I was willing to take, just knowing where ThorSport was. I felt like within a decent amount of time, there was going to be an opportunity there.”
Among the Championship 4 drivers in the Truck Series, Majeski might have the best story. No matter what happens, he is feeling no pressure to win the title.
“I’ve achieved everything I felt like I’ve needed to this year to prove what I needed to,” he stated. “The championship would be the icing on the cake to a great season. Our confidence level is high coming off winning two of the last three.”
His experience at Phoenix is limited, with just one career start. It happened to be the site of his series debut in 2019 with Niece Motorsports.