Unlike in previous years, Ty Majeski wasn’t a dominant force in Sunday’s Snowball Derby, spending the majority of the afternoon running inside the top-five, but patiently waiting for a winning opportunity to fall into his lap.
In fact, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular was still one of the quickest Super Late Model drivers at Five Flags Speedway on Sunday, but the field wasn’t very far off either, with strong challenges from both Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard throughout the day.
After disposing of Derek Thorn – who has had a stranglehold on the Snowball Derby field the last three years – in the opening 100 laps of the event, the battle truly came down to three of the strongest Late Model drivers in the United States – Majeski, Pollard, and Nasse.
By the race’s three-quarter mark, Lap 225, all three had spent time at the front of the pack and appeared to have the speed necessary to challenge for the victory in the 56th Snowball Derby.
As the laps continued to click off, Majeski and Nasse began to surge ahead of Bubba Pollard in the race to the finish, making it a one-on-one battle between the two fastest cars on the track. That was until a late-race yellow was displayed, forcing everybody onto pit road.
The spin by Luke Fenhaus inside the race’s final 25 laps changed the race’s entire complexion — which many in the race would tell you was for the worse, after getting collected in a massive pileup on the ensuing restart.
Several heavy hitters like William Byron, Erik Jones, Noah Gragson, Jake Finch, and Derek Thorn were eliminated from the race, as were drivers like Treyten Lapcevich, Michael Hinde, and Jace Hansen.
That set up another late-race restart at Five Flags Speedway, which went inherently better than the one before, but set up an epic duel to the finish which saw Bubba Pollard, Stephen Nasse, and Ty Majeski beating and banging for several laps.
Majeski, who had fought incredibly hard to maintain his track position on the outside lane, eventually lost the lead to Nasse — and then second place to Bubba Pollard, leaving his fading No. 91 Ford to sit in third place inside the final 10 laps.
Then, the race-winning opportunity fell into his lap.
Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard got too close while battling for the lead of the race, which resulted in contact, and the No. 51 and No. 26 entries sliding up the track and into the outside wall, paving the way for Majeski to re-take the lead.
— Racing America (@RacingAmerica) December 3, 2023
From there, though, it was easy sailing, as Majeski just had to hold off Gio Ruggerio and Travis Braden to claim the victory in the 2023 Snowball Derby, his second win in the prestigious event.
Ruggerio, who couldn’t get his No. 22 Toyota to fire before the green flag, finished in the runner-up spot, while Travis Braden, Canadian driver Cole Butcher, and Matt Craig completed the top five. Stephen Nasse finished sixth, the last car on the lead-lap, with Derek Griffith, Luke Fenhaus, Jacob Gomes, and William Sawalich rounding out the top-10.
Other NASCAR notables include Johnny Sauter (14th), Conner Jones (17th), William Byron (22nd), Noah Gragson (23rd), Treyten Lapcevich (24th), Erik Jones (29th), and Ryan Preece (31st).