A month after locking himself into the Championship 4 round with his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ty Majeski doubled down with additional momentum after claiming a late dominant victory in the Baptist Health Cancer Care 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, October 22.
The 28-year-old Majeski from Seymour, Wisconsin, led two times for a race-high 67 of 134-scheduled laps, including the final 33, and beat runner-up Zane Smith by more than four seconds to claim the second Truck Series victory of his career at Miami. By winning two of three Round of 8 events during the Playoffs and automatically transferring to the Championship 4 round, Majeski will square off against Zane Smith, Chandler Smith and reigning series champion Ben Rhodes for this year’s Truck Series championship that will be determined at Phoenix Raceway in early November.
With on-track qualifying that was scheduled for Friday being canceled due to rain, the starting lineup was determined through a metric system from NASCAR’s rulebook. As a result, Ryan Preece was initially awarded the pole position for the main event. Preece, however, dropped to the rear of the field along with Lawless Alan and Nick Leitz due to unapproved adjustments. With that, Playoff competitor Ben Rhodes led the field to the start alongside Matt DiBenedetto.
When the green flag waved and the race started, Rhodes launched ahead of DiBenedetto, who spun the tires at the start, before Chandler Smith drew himself alongside Rhodes in his early bid for the lead through the first two turns. Following an early side-by-side battle with Chandler Smith, Rhodes pulled ahead through Turns 3 and 4 as he led the first lap while the field behind fanned out and jostled early for positions.
Through the first five laps of the event, Rhodes was leading ahead of Chandler Smith, Christian Eckes, Zane Smith and Stewart Friesen while Tyler Ankrum, Matt DiBenedetto, John Hunter Nemechek, Parker Kligerman and Matt Crafton were running in the top 10. By then, Ty Majeski was in 12th, Corey Heim was back in 16th and Grant Enfinger was vying for 17th.
At the Lap 10 mark, Rhodes’ No. 99 Kubota Toyota Tundra TRD Pro continued to lead by three-tenths of a second over Chandler Smith’s No. 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro followed by Zane Smith, Friesen and Eckes. By then, all 36 starters were on the lead lap. In addition, the remaining eight Playoff contenders were running in the top 11.
A few laps later, Nemechek, who made contact with the outside wall in Turn 3 on the third lap, got into the wall again in the third turn before hitting the wall hard in Turn 1 after losing a tire. The incident prompted Nemechek, who came into the event five laps behind the top-four cutline to make the championship finale, to make an unscheduled pit stop under green and fall out of the lead lap category. Nemechek would eventually make multiple trips to pit road for repairs to his No. 4 Gearwrench Toyota Tundra TRD Pro as his title hopes took an early serious hit.
By Lap 20, Rhodes remained as the leader by more than a second over Chandler Smith followed by Zane Smith, Friesen and Majeski while Eckes was back in sixth.
When the first stage concluded on Lap 30, Rhodes, who came into Miami three points above the top-four cutline, captured his ninth stage victory of the 2022 season. Zane Smith settled in second followed by Friesen, Majeski, Enfinger, Eckes, Chandler Smith, Crafton, Parker Kligerman and Preece.
Under the stage break, the leaders led by Rhodes pitted and Zane Smith emerged with the lead over the field. Following the pit stops, Parker Kligerman was penalized for speeding on pit road along with Matt Crafton, whose pit crew jumped over the pit stall too soon. In addition, Blaine Perkins was penalized due to crew member interference.
The second stage started on Lap 36 as Zane Smith and Enfinger occupied the front row. At the start, Rhodes used the outside lane to his advantage as he rocketed past Zane Smith and Enfinger with a three-wide move to reassume the lead through the backstretch. Enfinger, however, fought back during the following lap as he drew his No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Silverado RST alongside Rhodes while Zane Smith tried to close back in on the two leaders. Behind, Preece and Majeski battled for fourth while Heim occupied sixth place.
By the Lap 40 mark, a side-by-side battle for the lead commenced between Rhodes and Zane Smith, with Rhodes using the outside lane to his advantage while Smith tried to use the inside lane to pull ahead of Rhodes. During the following lap, Smith managed to pull his No. 38 Speed Ford F-150 in front of Rhodes entering Turn 4 and fend off a crossover move by Rhodes to claim the outside lane and the lead. Not long after, Preece battled and overtook Rhodes for second followed by Majeski while Enfinger remained in fifth.
Ten laps later on Lap 50, Zane Smith was leading by more than a second over Majeski followed by Preece, Rhodes and Eckes while Enfinger, Friesen, Heim, Chandler Smith and Colby Howard occupied the top 10. With seven of eight Playoff competitors running in the top 10 on the track, Nemechek was the lone Playoff competitor running in the back of the pack as he was mired in 36th, dead last, while scored two laps down.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 60, Zane Smith, who came into Miami 18 points above the top-four cutline, captured his eighth stage victory of the 2022 season. Majeski trailed in second place by more than a second while Preece, Friesen, Rhodes, Eckes, Enfinger, Howard, Heim and Chandler Smith were scored in the top 10. By then, Nemechek was pinned three laps behind in 36th place.
Under the stage break, the leader led by Zane Smith pitted and Preece exited with the lead followed by Majeski, Eckes, Zane Smith and Heim. During the pit stops, Rhodes suffered a slow pit stop as he exited pit road in 15th place. Following the pit stops, Kaden Honeycutt was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation.
With 68 laps remaining, the final stage started as Preece and Majeski occupied the front row. At the start and with the field fanning out engines the first turn, Majeski muscled ahead with the lead on the inside lane followed by Preece and Zane Smith while Eckes and Enfinger battled for fourth in front of Heim and the field.
Eight laps later and with 60 laps remaining, Majeski was leading by a tenth of a second over Zane Smith followed by a heated four-truck battle for third place between Eckes, Heim, Enfinger and Preece. Friesen, meanwhile, was in seventh while Derek Kraus, Chandler Smith and Rhodes were scored in the top 10. By then, Nemechek was still pinned multiple laps down in 36th place, dead last.
Then with 55 laps remaining, Enfinger’s championship hopes took a serious hit after he made an unscheduled pit stop under green to address a flat right-front tire due to making contact with the outside wall. After pitting for four fresh tires, Enfinger, who came into Miami in a “must-win” situation, lost a lap to the leaders.
Back on the track with 50 laps remaining, Majeski retained the lead by eight-tenths of a second over Zane Smith followed by Heim, Eckes and Friesen while Preece, Chandler Smith, Crafton, Rhodes and Kraus occupied the top 10. With Enfinger mired in 31st, Nemechek was back in 36th, dead last, as both Playoff competitors were in jeopardy of not transferring to the finale.
With 40 laps remaining, pit stops under green commenced as Preece pitted followed by Bret Holmes. Rhodes also pitted along with Kligerman, Chase Purdy, Hailie Deegan, Friesen and a wave of competitors.
With 32 laps remaining and with the cycle of green flag pit stops complete, Majeski reassumed the lead followed by a hard-charging Zane Smith while Preece was in third. By then, Friesen was back in fourth as he was contending for a transfer spot to the finale against Rhodes, who was in eighth and held sole possession of the fourth and final transfer spot to the finale by a single point.
Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Majeski continued to lead by more than a second over Zane Smith and more than 10 seconds over third-place Preece. Meanwhile, Friesen was in fourth in front of Heim and Eckes while Rhodes was trying to fend off Chandler Smith for seventh place and for a spot in the finale. By then, Enfinger rallied to 11th while Nemechek was mired in 32nd palace, four laps down.
Six laps later, Friesen overtook Preece for third place and drew himself into a tie for the fourth and final transfer spot to the finale over Rhodes, who remained in seventh but owned the tie-breaker for recording the best finish during the Round of 8 at Talladega Superspeedway with a second-place result.
With 10 laps remaining, Majeski retained the lead by nearly three seconds over Zane Smith. Behind, Friesen remained in third place, trailing the leaders by more than 14 seconds, while Rhodes was locked in a battle with teammate Crafton for seventh place, a spot Rhodes needs to retain to transfer to the finale. Eckes, meanwhile, was running in sixth, but eight points below the top-four cutline.
Down to the final five laps of the event, Majeski stabilized his advantage to more than four seconds over Zane Smith while Rhodes, who briefly lost seventh place to Crafton, retained his spot on the track in front of his ThorSport Racing teammate and with a spot to the finale on the line. A few laps later, Rhodes managed to track and overtake teammate Eckes for sixth place, which placed Rhodes in a one-point advantage over Friesen, who remained in third place, in the standings.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Majeski remained as the leader by more than four seconds over Zane Smith. With no challenges lurking behind or in front of him, Majeski was able to navigate his way around Homestead for a final time as he cycled back to the finish line and claimed his second checkered flag in the series.
The victory, which was enough for Toyota to secure the manufacturer’s title for the 13th time overall, gave Majeski and his No. 66 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra TRD Pro team additional momentum approaching the championship finale at Phoenix Raceway in November, where the Wisconsin native will contend for his first Truck Series title.
“Man, this is awesome,” Majeski said on FS1. “This place is so hard to read and practice. Nobody has any grip, right? I didn’t know really what we had, but man, this No. 66 Road Ranger Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was bad to the bone today. Man, just thank you to Joe Shear, my crew chief. We’ve been working great this year together. Just so thankful that we’re able to make the most of this thing. We’re gonna go chase a championship [in] two weeks. [There’s gonna be] A lot of sim time, a lot of simulator just like the rest of the year. We’ve been working really hard on Phoenix ever since we won Bristol. We’re bringing that truck back. I feel really good about what we have so far. Keep fine-tuning [the truck]. If it’s anywhere near this [Homestead truck] today, we’ll be pretty good.”
Zane Smith settled in second place for the fifth time this season, which was more than for him to transfer to the Championship 4 finale for a third consecutive season as he will contend for his first Truck Series championship.
“Another really good [Front Row Motorsports] Ford,” Zane Smith said. “Man, I really wanted to get that [win]. Just hats off to my whole team. They’ve put in a lot of hours the past couple of weeks. [I] Just really wanted this one for them, but we get to go fight for another championship, which is really cool. One more left. That’s all that matters. I pretty much figured out every way to lose one, so third time’s a charm, hopefully. We’ve been fast all year. Regardless of what happens at Phoenix, it’s just an outstanding year.”
Friesen came home in third place, trailing the leaders by more than 13 seconds, but missed the top-four cutline by a single point over Rhodes, who finished sixth in front of teammates Eckes and Crafton. As a result, Rhodes will join teammate Majeski, Zane Smith and 10th-place finisher Chandler Smith as the four competitors to transfer to the Championship 4 finale and contend for the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
“Every spot matters,” Rhodes said. “We got in by one point from what I understand. I’m just really, really happy [that] we had a good showing for this Kubota Toyota Tundra. Man, I wished [the race] was easier. It seemed harder than it should have. Just glad that we can defend the title. It’s been an up-and-down season. We aren’t the best on mile-and-a-halfs, but we made leaps and bounds here. We were able to get the first stage win, be fifth in the second [stage] and when we had that bad pit stop and went back to 15th, I was sweating bullets. I knew I had a lot of work to do. I just didn’t know it was gonna be that tough. We just got to be consistent. We’re working on that. So far, so good. I’m thrilled with the last two races, Now, we’ve turned everything around and made it back in.”
“We, overall, just missed it today,” Chandler Smith said. “With that being said, we are all focused on going to run for a championship. I’m really happy with that. Being here with my Satellite [Kyle Busch Motorsports] group. This is awesome to be able to have the opportunity to go and run for a championship. I may never be able to do this in my career again, so really, really, thankful for the opportunity. Just super blessed right now. I’m feeling humbled.”
Friesen, meanwhile, joins seventh-place finisher Eckes, 14th-place finisher Enfinger and 35th-place finisher Nemechek as the four competitors who have been eliminated from Playoff contention.
“I didn’t have a teammate to lay over and give me an extra point like they were doing in the back,” Friesen said. “I’m so proud of our race team. That’s the best truck we’ve ever had here. Just a beautiful race car today. It was so fun to drive. We nailed it. We just lost a couple of spots in the pits and the front two could fire off a little bit better and get gone. That was it. I was praying for a caution. It didn’t happen, but I’m proud of our race team. I’m excited to move forward and keep building our race team. That’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna keep building over the winter.”
“[I] Just made a mistake on my end,” Nemechek said. “I got dirtied up behind [Friesen] early on in stage in and hit the fence and just trying to make up time and was pushing the issue probably a little too hard. Ultimately pushed it a little too hard, hit the fence again and had the right front go flat. Came in, pitted and ended up not clearing tires good enough and had another tire go down and had to pit again. Then had to play pit strategy and after that, it was just damage control. It’s on me. It’s just frustrating for myself for sure to not advance to the final four, but still have a couple races left to go out and try to win.”
In addition to the driver’s championship battle, the final four title contenders (Majeski, Chandler Smith, Zane Smith and Rhodes) will contend for this year’s owners’ championship.
There were eight lead changes for five different leaders. The race featured two cautions for 10 laps. All 36 starters finished the race while 10 finished on the lead lap.
1. Ty Majeski, 67 laps led
2. Zane Smith, 26 laps led, Stage 2 winner
3. Stewart Friesen
4. Ryan Preece, two laps led
5. Corey Heim
6. Ben Rhodes, 37 laps led, Stage 1 winner
7. Christian Eckes
8. Matt Crafton
9. Parker Kligerman
10. Chandler Smith
11. Tyler Ankrum, one lap down
12. Carson Hocevar, one lap down
13. Colby Howard, one lap down
14. Grant Enfinger, one lap down
15. Derek Kraus, one lap down
16. Chase Purdy, one lap down
17. Hailie Deegan, one lap down
18. Kaz Grala, one lap down
19. Matt DiBenedetto, one lap down
20. Timmy Hill, one lap down, two laps led
21. Max Gutierrez, one lap down
22. Blaine Perkins, two laps down
23. Dean Thompson, two laps down
24. Brennan Poole, two laps down
25. Tanner Gray, two laps down
26. Stefan Parsons, two laps down
27. Kaden Honeycutt, two laps down
28. Nick Leitz, three laps down
29. Tyler Hill, three laps down
30. Chad Chastain, three laps down
31. Jack Wood, four laps down
32. Mason Maggio, five laps down
33. Bret Holmes, five laps down
34. Lawless Alan, five laps down
35. John Hunter Nemechek, six laps down
36. Spencer Boyd, 10 laps down
*Bold indicates Playoff contenders
1. Ty Majeski – Advanced
2. Zane Smith – Advanced
3. Chandler Smith – Advanced
4. Ben Rhodes – Advanced
5. Stewart Friesen – Eliminated
6. Christian Eckes – Eliminated
7. Grant Enfinger – Eliminated
8. John Hunter Nemechek – Eliminated
The 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season is set to conclude at Phoenix Raceway on November 4, where a champion will be crowned. The finale is scheduled to occur at 10 p.m. ET on FS1.