In today’s motorsports landscape, it’s not often that a driver makes it to the upper echelon of the sport without a significant investment from family or some other benefactor. Funding to race is important, and in some cases, it’s just as important as the talent to race.
There are notable exceptions to that rule. One of them is Brad Keselowski, a driver who struggled in back-of-the-pack rides before Dale Earnhardt, Jr. noticed what he was doing in those lower-funded cars and gave him a chance in a NASCAR XFINITY Series car. From there, owners like Rick Hendrick and Roger Penske took notice and Keselowski has gone on to win 30 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and the 2012 series championship.
Other drivers have fought to work their way up the ladder with just their skill behind the wheel and have found it a hard road to travel. But Ty Majeski (No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing Ford) has built a solid reputation as a short track champion that has paved the way to opportunities in the upper levels of the sport.\
A four-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion, Majeski has won numerous major super late model events including Oktoberfest at Lacrosse Fairgrounds Speedway and the Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway, both in Wisconsin and the Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. He started 2019 with a victory at the Kern County Winter Showdown in Bakersfield, California.
Majeski had a tough 2018 season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. For some, that might have been enough to give up the dream altogether, or to head back to the short tracks. But Majeski hasn’t wavered. He believes in his talent and looked for any opportunity to continue to prove he can get it done.
After his win at the Kern County Showdown, Majeski pursued an opportunity with Chad Bryant Racing in the ARCA Menards Series. While not a full-season effort, Majeski’s schedule would include most of the superspeedway races and perhaps a short track or two if funding was available. Majeski’s ARCA season started at Talladega, where he qualified second and finished fourth. His second event was slated for Charlotte Motor Speedway, and when the race’s complexion turned when leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) brought out the caution with a run-in with the turn one wall with ten laps to go, Majeski pounced. He passed Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Southern States Bank Chevrolet) on lap 96 and held on through two overtime restarts to take his first career ARCA Menards Series victory.
“The highs are so high and the lows are so low,” Majeski said following his Charlotte victory. “It can really take a toll on you. It was a tough season last year and it feels that much better to come back here and prove myself. Myself and the team. We have a lot to prove. I know Chad (Bryant, team owner) hasn’t run as good as he’s wanted to the last year and a half or so. It feels real good to come out here and put this thing in victory lane.”
Despite the struggles he’s faced just to get to this point. Majeski has never given up on himself.
“I am at the shop working every day,” he said. “I am doing a lot of simulator work with Ford. I am just trying to get in front of the right people. If you’re out of sight you’re out of mind. I am doing everything I can to stay relevant. Being in victory lane really helps.”
Trying to get to the top of the motorsports mountain once without a big time sponsor or a wealthy benefactor his hard enough to do. Trying to do it a second time is exponentially harder. Majeski is keeping himself focused on the task at hand, which is winning races, and will let his results do the talking for him.
“I have to keep winning,” he said. “I don’t have the good fortune of having a lot of money behind me. I’ve done this all on results and talent, so to speak. I’ve been thankful to be around a lot of great people throughout my career. We have a great late model program. I do the best I can to surround myself with great people. That’s what makes you good. You can’t take a fifteenth-place car and win with it. You just can’t do it. I am thankful for Chad and his team for giving me this opportunity.”