DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ty Majeski had never flipped in a stock car — or truck — before Friday night. He got his money’s worth on the first one.
Majeski’s Niece Motorsports No. 45 Chevrolet made the earliest and most dramatic exit from Friday’s season-opening NextEra Energy 250, sending a deluge of sparks for several hundred feet into Turn 1 in a multi-vehicle tangle at Daytona International Speedway. The wild ride red-flagged the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks opener with just 15 of a scheduled 100 laps complete.
Majeski was near the front of the inside lane when Todd Gilliland’s push of Tate Fogleman in the center lane went askew. Fogleman’s sliding No. 02 Chevrolet knocked Austin Wayne Self’s No. 22 Chevy out of line, catching Majeski’s truck in the crossfire and triggering his rollover.
“I was just trying to protect myself and brace myself in case another truck came in and hit me,” Majeski said after an evaluation at Daytona’s infield care center. “Just trying to stay calm, keep yourself braced and hang on for the ride.”
Majeski, a decorated Super Late Model driver in his first Gander Trucks season, exited unharmed, but his Al Niece-owned entry was less fortunate. The 250-miler was stopped for 7 minutes, 59 seconds to right the No. 45 truck on four wheels after its prolonged skid.
“We have a lot of great safety equipment. These vehicles have come such a long way,” Majeski said. “NASCAR’s done such a great job keeping us safe. Just a lot of sparks, a lot of debris flying around. My shield popped open, so I had to shut it just to try to keep all the debris out of there. Obviously there’s sparks flying and sparks hitting my face. Obviously not an ideal situation.”
Self was trying to lead the charge in the outside lane when the three-wide contest unraveled. The opening race of the season typically holds such promise, but the 23-year-old Texan was left lamenting the hectic nature of the night’s racing with the bulk of the event remaining.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Self said. “You come to Daytona and you think of the big trophy, you think of Victory Lane, but at the end of the day, there’s always a good chance. I think it’s got to be higher than 80 percent chance that this is how your night’s going to end. I’m just totally disappointed it happened this early, right?”