HOMESTEAD, Fla — Ty Majeski landed in the second round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs despite being 0-for-39 regarding trips to victory lane. However, he just capped a Round of 8 in going 2-for-3 including a dominating win in Saturday’s Baptist Health 200.
He bookended the round with his first career win a month ago in Bristol. Two races later, he visited victory lane for the second time of his career with leading a race-high 67 of 134 laps and taking the only automatic spot to the Championship Four.
The Wisconsin native topped regular season champion Zane Smith by 4.524-seconds and heads to Phoenix as a championship favorite. He enters having scored 6 top 8 finishes in his No. 66 Toyota in the last 7 starts.
“We certainly have momentum on our side, winning two of the last three,’’ Majeski said. “I can’t really say who the favorite is and who isn’t. But I really like my chances going to Phoenix.”
Smith was runner-up in his No. 38 Ford. He was also runner-up to Majeski in Bristol too which gives him five 2nd place finishes over the last 11 races. He’s into the final round for the third straight season.
Stewart Friesen finished third in his No. 52 Toyota, while Ryan Preece and Corey Heim rounded out the top five of action.
For Friesen, he came up one point shy of earning his second trip to the Championship 4. He was facing a situation to where he had to win in the end of see defending champion Ben Rhodes fall back two spots in the final laps.
That wasn’t likely going to happen with Rhodes’ ThorSport teammate of Matt Crafton being behind which even with Chandler Smith getting by Crafton, there was no way Crafton was going to let anyone else by him or pass Rhodes himself.
Rhodes had the tiebreaker this round of Friesen via his runner-up from Talladega. Now, Rhodes is back in the Championship 4 for the second time of his career, each in the last two years and looking to become the first back-to-back champion in the series since Crafton did it in 2013 and 2014.
“Fighting with my teammates really hard there for the last few laps,’’ Rhodes said. “Every spot matters and we got in by one point. I’m just really happy we had a good showing for this Toyota Tundra.
“Really happy to have an intense race for them, give them some excitement’’ Rhodes said of guests this weekend. “But man it was harder than it should have been. Just glad we can defend the title really.”
Chander Smith is the only other Championship 4 member making it three Toyota’s and a Ford in the final round.
Trouble hampered the title bids for John Hunter Nemechek and Grant Enfinger early. Nemechek got into the wall twice during Stage 1 and pitted for a flat tire on Lap 14. He finished 35th in the 36-truck field, six laps off the pace. Enfinger headed to pit road on Lap 80 after his own flat tire and wall scrub, ending his must-win quest at advancing. He wound up 14th, one lap down.￼
“Frustrating day; just can’t recover two, three laps,’’ Nemechek said. “On me. But proud of all the guys at KBM. It’s been an up and down season, but overall we’ve been in contention almost every week. Proud of them and grateful for the opportunity.
“Sucks we won’t be racing for the championship,’’ he added. “But one last race to go win with this bunch and hopefully we can go get it done.’’