KINSTON — Ty Majeski tied a Rattler 250 record by becoming a three-time winner in the 44th annual Super Late Model race at the South Alabama Speedway on Sunday.
Majeski, a regular on the NASCAR Truck Series, became only the second driver to win the event three times — tying Ronnie Sanders, who won it 1982, 1999 and 2001. Majeski, a Seymour, Wis., native, won the Rattler back-to-back in 2016-2017.
“It means a lot,” Majeski said of tying the record. “This is one of the crown jewels of Super Late Model racing.”
Sanders, of Fayetteville, Ga., was at the track Sunday as an owner of the car driven by Hunter Robbins, who finished 12th in the race of 25 competitors.
“A record has got to be broken sometimes,” Sanders said. “I was hoping it wouldn’t, but it did. He’s really good.”
Majeski took his first lead on a restart following a caution on lap 56. After dropping back to second for a while, Majeski got back in front again around lap 104 and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
Defending champion Giovanni Bromante of Long Island, N.Y., finished second, while track-favorite Bubba Pollard of Senoia, Ga., was third in the race which kicked off the season for the Southern Super Series.
Majeski led by a comfortable margin the final 50 or so laps and cruised in for the win.
“You had to really pace yourself and you had to be smooth, that way you had something left for the last couple of laps,” Majeski said. “So that’s what I did. I thought it played into our hands the way the cautions fell.
“There was no chance for any strategies or different tire sequences. It was pretty much everyone on the same strategy and that made it easier as a leader.”
Pollard, who won the Grasshopper 125 Pro Late Model race late Saturday night and won the pole for the Rattler 250, led for the first 56 laps and was in contention the whole way.
“That car is good,” Pollard said of the winner. “They’ve been good for a while. With this caliber of race cars and teams, you’ve got to be on it every week and we just missed it a little bit.
“It’s a good place to build on for the rest of the year, and that’s what I’m happy about. We had a good weekend all-in-all.”
Stephen Nasse of Pinellas, Fla., known for his on and off the track battles with Pollard, came in fourth. The two rivals never tangled on Sunday in what was a clean race other than a few cars getting harmlessly spun during the course of the 250 laps.
Bromante, just 16 years old, was proud of the second place finish after winning the race a year ago.
“It’s definitely a thrill,” Bromante said. “Ty got me, but they (crew) did a great job. We just needed a little more time and little a little bit more of a race car, but I’m happy with the second place finish.”
The race had been postponed several times due to COVID-19. Neither Majeski or Bromante were in the lineup for the original March date, but jumped on board when the event was changed to Memorial Day weekend.
“Certainly kudos to everyone at South Alabama Speedway and everyone at the Southern Super Series for getting this through,” Majeski said. “We all want to come back to the race track. We’ve been out of the race car and race truck for two months or so and wanted to knock off the rust.”
Majeski is scheduled to race in the NASCAR Truck Series on Tuesday night in Charlotte.
“Tuesday I go to Charlotte — no practice, no qualifying — so I wanted to come down here and try it against some of the best in the country,” Majeski said. “When I go into Turn 1 Tuesday night, I’ll be ready to go.”
Majeski said the South Alabama Speedway is similar to many of the tracks he grew up racing on.
“It’s a bull ring, right?” Majeski said. “There are a lot of race tracks like this up in Wisconsin and it kind of fits our wheelhouse and fits our program.”