PENSACOLA, Florida (December 6, 2020) — In his seventh start in the most prestigious race in short track racing, Ty Majeksi was able to raise the Tom Dawson Trophy above his head as a winner in the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby.
Unlike last year, Majeski didn’t have the most dominant car, but instead was ready to capitalize in the late laps, passing Derek Thorn just before the race’s final competition caution, then holding him off following the race’s final restart with just five laps to go.
“I can’t even describe it man, this is so cool,” said to Speed51.TV’s Blaise Dillner. “ If you didn’t enjoy that you don’t enjoy racing, that was an awesome race with Derek, I have so much respect for him. He’s such a great race car driver.”
“I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit worried after that first run, we fell back a little bit and we made good adjustments all day to put ourselves in position at the end.”
While Derek Thorn wasn’t happy about the outcome, he was grateful for the job he and his crew had done, even after coming up just short.
“I’m proud of these guys, we had a good car all day. We gave it up on the last competition caution that came out there, he snuck by me with one to go,” Thorn said. “He had the track position and wasn’t afraid to use the front bumper to keep us out of the way. We’ll keep at it and hope more luck can come our way.”
When asked if he would’ve done things different, Thorn’s response was short, and sweet.
“Oh yeah, I’ll play those laps back in my mind for the next 365 days,” said Thorn.
Chase Elliott, after starting 31st, finished in third after not having run a late model race since his last win, in the 2015 Snowball Derby.
“It was solid,” Elliott told Short Track Scene’s Matt Weaver. “It was good, just not good enough.”
And now… The Race Rundown…
The race started cleanly with polesitter Derek Thorn jumping out and taking command of the field, a pattern that will repeat itself throughout the event. Outside polesitter Kaden Honeycutt took the lead from Thorn after a clean pass on lap 25.
As Honeycutt took the lead, caution number one flew on lap 26 for Mason Diaz, who made contact with the turn four wall after an apparent right front tire failure. Diaz would become the first car out of the race.
Honeycutt would lead the next 25 laps before Thorn would retake the lead on lap 249. Thorn would continue to lead until the first competition yellow.
During this run, Chase Elliott and Chandler Smith worked through the field, and into the top ten, from 31st and 34th starting spots. They started that far back after advancing into the field from the last chance races on Saturday.
The second caution of the day flew on lap 108 after 75 green flag laps for the first competition yellow of the day.
During the yellow, Bubba Pollard, having already been put a lap down by leader Thorn, parked his TK Racing machine, calling it a day due to poor handling. He joined Pensacola’s Logan Boyett and Mason Daiz as the race’s early retirees.
Thorn held off Kyle Busch on the restart with 179 laps to go. For the next 75 laps the field ran clean and solid laps that saw Kyle Busch fade from second to ninth and Chandler Smith work his way up to third behind Stephen Nasse.
With 106 laps to go, the race’s third caution flew for the second competition yellow.
At this time, Nasse’s crew reported a possible electrical issue with their car, the driver of the 51 car needing a push to get going off pit road.
The only major crash of the event occurred just after the restart, on lap 205 as Casey Roderick, Hunter Robbins, Dan Fredrickson, Kyle Sieg and others crashed on the frontstretch.
With 76 laps to go, Nasse, running in second, fell off the pace and parked his machine after falling victim to the electrical gremlins that surfaced earlier in the race. This moved Majeski up to second behind race leader Thorn.
Thorn continued to lead Majeski until 23 laps to go, when Majeski made the pass for the lead just prior to the race’s final competition yellow.
Majeski now in control of the restart, he was able to hold off Thorn in the waning laps.
With 13 to go, Derek Griffith and Borris Jurkovic crashed while racing into turn one.
This setup a final five lap dash to end the race.
Majeski and Thorn fought side by side, traded blows, and Thorn even stuck his nose out front from the highside.
In the end, Majeski was able to scoot by, and cruise to the win. It marks his 107th late model victory in his seventh Snowball Derby start.
Results from the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby:
|1.||91 – Ty Majeski|
|2.||43 – Derek Thorn|
|3.||9 – Chase Elliott|
|4.||26 – Chandler Smith|
|5.||2 – Kaden Honeycutt|
|6.||53 – Cole Butcher|
|7.||51 – Kyle Busch|
|8.||32 – Grant Enfinger|
|9.||12 – Derek Griffith|
|10.||4 – Kyle Plott|
|11.||78 – Corey Heim|
|12.||75 – Jeremy Doss|
|13.||14 – Travis Braden|
|14.||43 – Daniel Dye, -1 lap|
|15.||9 – Derek Kraus, -2 laps|
|16.||16 – Cayden Lapcevich, -3 laps|
|17.||21 – Jeremy Pate, -3 laps|
|18.||7 – John DeAngelis, -3 laps|
|19.||54 – Matt Craig, -3 laps|
|20.||7 – Paul Shafer Jr., -4 laps|
|21.||112 – Augie Grill, -4 laps|
|22.||39 – Kyle Sieg, -4 laps|
|23.||3 – Ross Kenseth, -5 laps|
|24.||35 – Jake Garcia, -5 laps|
|25.||53 – Borris Jurkovic, OUT – Crash|
|26.||36 – Dan Fredrickson, OUT|
|27.||30 – Jesse Dutilly, OUT|
|28.||25 – Casey Roderick, OUT – Crash|
|29.||51 – Stephen Nasse, OUT – Electrical|
|30.||51 – Michael Atwell, OUT – Crash|
|31.||18 – Hunter Robbins, OUT – Crash|
|32.||14 – Chris Davidson, OUT – Handling|
|33.||54 – Preston Peltier, OUT – Mechanical|
|34.||71 – Bubba Pollard, OUT – Handling|
|35.||11 – Logan Boyett, OUT – Mechanical|
|36.||24 – Mason Diaz, OUT – Crash|
– Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining
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