ARCA Racing Series

NASCAR’s Next Generation: A Q&A with Ty Majeski

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Ty Majeski‘s future was determined when he was 9 years old.

“That age where you start playing tackle football and stuff at school,” Majeski told NBC Sports. “We were sitting at the dinner table one night. I’m about 5-foot-4, right now I’m 130 pounds. Obviously, I was a lot smaller then. My parent’s didn’t want me going out and playing tackle football at all. We were always race fans and stuff. My dad was like ‘Well, why don’t I just go out and buy you a go-kart instead?’ That’s kind of how it all started.”

Twelve years later, the Wisconsin native who discovered his “knack” for racing through the “fun karts” at the Wisconsin Dell theme park is grabbing the attention of biggest names in NASCAR, including Dale Earnhardt Jr.

That tweet came a few months after Majeski won his second ARCA Midwest Tour championship. It was four months before a whirlwind week where Majeski was announced as a Roush Fenway Racing development driver and then as one of 11 members of this year’s NASCAR Next class, a program that highlights rising stars in the ranks of auto racing.

Within a month of that, Majeski was making his first ARCA Racing Series start for Roulo Brothers Racing at Madison International Speedway. He was fastest in both practice sessions and finished fourth in the race.

“Really a special last few months for me,” Majeski said.

The following Q&A has been edited and condensed.

NBC Sports: I read you found out you were going to be a member of NASCAR Next while studying for school, do you remember what class you were studying for?

Majeski: It would have been a physics exam that night. I got a phone call and was really, really surprised. I knew about the NASCAR Next program, but I didn’t expect to be a part of it just because I didn’t run, or I don’t run a NASCAR touring series yet. That was a surprise to me I guess. What we’ve done in the Super Late Model stuff, I guess, it was good enough for them to accept me in, which is really cool.

NBC Sports: You just finished your junior year at the University of Wisconsin, what’s it been like for those first three years, having to juggle traveling across the country while having to do school work?

Majeski: It’s obviously tough. Everybody asks me how I do it and half the time I don’t even know. Everything suffers a little bit I guess. Obviously, I miss a ton of school. I’m forced to teach myself a lot of what I need to know. The professor works with you to a point. It kind of depends on how big the professor’s ego is I guess. It’s been up and down and just a matter of something I need to get through.

NBC Sports: How heavy is your workload?

Majeski: I usually take the least amount of credits as I can and still stay full-time, so about 12, 15 credits. I’m not going to get it done in four years, no doubt about that. Nobody really gets done in four years anyways. Now, with the tough curriculum that UW-Madison has and at a lot of the higher end engineering schools, no one really gets done in four anymore. Not a big deal to stretch it to five if I need to.

NBC Sports: What were you doing back in June 2015 compared to where you are now?

Majeski: We were winning a lot of races then. If you asked me two years ago, I wasn’t even sure what we were going to be doing. We put a deal together with the team I’m with now (Team M Racing) early on in 2014 and we didn’t really know what to expect, we were a brand new team and now two years later we’re one of the best Super Late Model teams in the country, I’m a Roush Fenway development driver, a NASCAR Next member. It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around for you, surrounding yourself with the right people and how a lot of good stuff can happen after that.

NBC Sports: What was your first meeting with Jack Roush like?

Majeski: He’s obviously a great guy, a great business man. You see him on TV, so it was really cool to meet him in person. It’s cool because he’s one of the more hands on owners. He definitely has his hands in his business. He’s got great people that help him run it. He’s as big a part of as any owner, so it’s cool to be part of his team and hopefully we can have a good future together.

NBC Sports: When you were growing up, which racing teams did you root for?

Majeski: I was always a Mopar guy. I always liked Evernham Motorsports when they were good with Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne. My family’s always been Dodge people, so we always rooted for those guys and Ganassi when they were Dodges with Sterling Marlin.

NBC Sports: What’s your favorite Twitter account to follow?

Majeski: Oh man, that’s a tough one. I’m really entertained by Skip Bayless. He has some ‘great’ opinions about what’s going on in the sports world, and I always get a kick out of how he changes his opinions all the time.

NBC Sports: What’s the hardest you’ve ever laughed?

Majeski: I don’t know, I’m here with my parents. Mom, what was something that was funny that I laughed at? The hardest I’ve ever laughed.

(gets response)

I really enjoy “Practical Jokers.” That’s a funny show. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. That show cracks me up pretty good.

NBC Sports: If you were in a Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, what song would you choose to be introduced with?

Majeski: “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar.

NBC Sports: What is the most emotional reaction you’ve had to a sporting event that wasn’t racing?

Majeski: I think it was just a few weeks ago watching Kobe Bryant’s last basketball game, watching him go off for 60 points. Just really taking it all in and realizing this guy was a once-in-a-generation player, you were watching his last game and he was being his vintage self. I think that was a really cool moment.

Vote for best 2018 Cup paint schemes

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It’s time to take stock of the 2018 Cup season.

That means voting in the best paint schemes of the year tournament.

The NBC Sports tournament has now reached its final four.

Here’s the bracket so far.

Bubba Wallace, RPM reinlist US Air Force as two-race sponsor

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Richard Petty Motorsports will continue to receive support from the United States military. On Friday, they announced the US Air Force will continue as a primary sponsor in 2019 as well as a major associate sponsor throughout the season on Bubba Wallace’s No. 43.

The two races for which the Air Force will be the primary sponsor are Saturday, July 6 at Daytona International Speedway (4th of July weekend) and Sunday, Nov. 10 (Veteran’s Day weekend) at ISM Raceway. Last year during his rookie campaign, Wallace finished in the top 15 in both of those races. He was 14th in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona and 10th at ISM.

“The Air Force continues to see benefits from our partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and driver, Bubba Wallace,” said Major Ross McKnight, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service in a press release. “Wallace Jr. and his personality align well with our target audience’s interests and the Air Force’s commitment to teamwork and technology. The combination of Bubba Wallace and the iconic No. 43 provides a continuing sponsorship opportunity that reflects our Air Force core values of Integrity, Service and Excellence, as well as has a positive impact on generating public awareness about the U.S. Air Force, our people and our mission.

“Like NASCAR, much of our work is based on science, technology, engineering and math principles combined with teamwork and training. This sponsorship is a great way to highlight that connection.”

Last year, Wallace visited four Air Force bases. He participated in drills at each and flew in an F-16 with the 77th Fighter Squadron “Gamblers” at Shaw AFB in South Carolina.

“I was really impressed with all the different aspects of the Air Force, and the different opportunities they offer,” said Wallace Jr. “I was able to visit different bases and see the Airmen in action and actually participate myself. That gets me excited and then I’m able to talk to inspiring students who are looking at a career in the Air Force. I’m pretty humbled to represent the Air Force.”

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John Hunter Nemechek, Chase Briscoe approved to run for Xfinity Rookie of the Year

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NASCAR has approved John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Briscoe to compete for the Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year title in 2019, NBC Sports has confirmed.

Nemechek made 18 Xfinity starts in 2018 with Chip Ganassi Racing while Briscoe made 17 with Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Fenway Racing.

Nemechek will compete for GMS Racing in the No. 23 Chevrolet. Briscoe will drive the No. 98 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

When Nemechek was announced on Dec. 6 as joining GMS Racing, a team press release said he would compete for Rookie of the Year. But a NASCAR spokesperson said his eligibility had not been decided on at the time.

The Rookie of the Year title was not mentioned in SHR’s Nov. 27 press release about Briscoe going full-time.

The Xfinity rookie field next year will include Nemechek, Briscoe, Noah Gragson in JR Motorsports’ No. 1 Chevrolet and Justin Haley in Kaulig Racing’s No. 11 Chevrolet.

Briscoe said in an Q&A on Reddit he was “honestly surprised” he was approved.

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Richard Childress Racing reveals Daytona 500 cars, sponsors and Xfinity details

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WELCOME, N.C. – Richard Childress Racing kicked off its 50th anniversary Friday at its headquarters in Welcome, North Carolina, with announcements about the 2019 season.

RCR announced Daniel Hemric will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in his rookie Cup season. Hemric had originally been announced as driving the No. 31.

Hemric, who moves up after two years in Xfinity, drove the No. 8 in his two Cup starts in 2018.

Richard Childress Racing

Hemric will be sponsored by Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance, Cessna and VF Workwear.

Cessna is also a sponsor at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Growing up in Kannapolis, it was all about racing,” Hemric said in a press release. “I always dreamed of having the opportunity to drive for RCR and for Richard himself. Now, two iconic numbers, the 3 and the 8, are going to be under one roof. I know it makes Richard happier than anybody, just understanding what that means for the sport of NASCAR and how our fans are going to be able to connect with that.”

RCR also confirmed NBC Sports’ report that Luke Lambert would be the crew chief for Hemric.

Photo by Daniel McFadin

The team revealed gold-themed cars Hemric and teammate Austin Dillon will drive during Speedweeks in Daytona to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary.

Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Bass Pro Shops in the Advance Auto Parts Clash.

The scheme for the exhibition race is based on the car Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove in the 1998 All-Star Race.

Xfinity Series

Team owner Richard Childress confirmed Tyler Reddick would be the organization’s only full-time Xfinity Series driver in 2019.

The defending series champion will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet and be paired with crew chief Randall Burnett, who worked with Matt Tifft on the No. 2 in 2018.

Childress said its second Xfinity car will be the No. 21 “more than likely.”

Technical Alliance

Childress confirmed the teams that will be full members of a technical alliance with RCR in 2019.

In Cup, RCR will be joined by StarCom Racing (No. 00), Germain Racing (No. 13) and Richard Petty Motorsports (No. 43).

Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series (No. 11 Chevrolet) will also be a part of the alliance.

Childress said ECR engines would be provided for all those teams.

Charter

Childress said the team would sell a team charter to StarCom Racing that had been leased to the team in 2018.

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