Pennzoil 150 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Track Specs: 2.439-mile road course / 62 laps
Weather: Fair; 82 degrees
Race Winner: Austin Cindric Mayer’s Finish: 27th
Making his first career start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, drove from his last-place starting position to inside of the top five in the latter stages of Saturday afternoon’s Pennzoil 150 NASCAR Xfinity Series event. Then, while battling for fourth, contact with another car sent Mayer onto an off-course excursion through the grass within Indianapolis’ infield, badly damaging Mayer’s Chevrolet. The subsequent damage proved to be too severe for Mayer to continue, forcing the JR Motorsports driver to head behind the wall, relegating the young driver to a 27th-place finish.
Stage One Finish: 10th
Mayer qualified for his first NXS start at the 2.439-mile road course in the 24th position but had to start from the rear as the team made unapproved adjustments following their qualifying run. Once underway, the driver of No. 8 Chevrolet raced his way to 23rd before a lap-1 caution for a multi-car incident slowed the field. On the ensuing restart, Mayer began his climb as he raced into the 18th position on lap 8 and up to 15th prior to the yellow flag waving again on lap 15. Pitting under yellow for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to alleviate a loose-handling Camaro, Mayer exited the pits and restarted from the 19th position due to varying pit strategies. A short run to the end of Stage One saw Mayer cross under the green-and-white checkered flag in the 15th position on lap 20.
Stage Two Finish: 22nd
During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to keep the driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet on track as they had just pit prior to the end of Stage One. Restarting from the 11thposition, Mayer wasted no time moving forward as he entered the top 10 on lap 23 and was in the sixth position when the yellow flag flew on lap 29. Remaining on track, Mayer restarted from the sixth position and kept moving forward, entering the top five immediately following the drop of the green flag. The JRM driver held strong there until Moyer made the strategy call to bring Mayer down pit road with only four laps remaining in Stage Two, relinquishing his top-five running position. Rejoining the race in the 22nd position, Mayer was set on saving tires until the end of the stage but a yellow flag flew on lap-39 and ended Stage Two as the No. 8 remained in 22nd .
Prior to the start of the third and final stage, Moyer opted to keep the JR Motorsports Chevrolet on track to stay with their overall strategy. Restarting from the sixth position, Mayer raced his way into fourth following the restart and remained there until an evasive maneuver to avoid the turtle placed on the exit of Turn 6 following contact with another car sent the No. 8 barreling through the grass and into the tire barrier. The resulting damage from the contact proved too severe for Mayer to continue, forcing the young driver to go behind the wall and bring an abrupt end to his promising afternoon. Mayer was ultimately scored with a 27th-place finish.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet
“I hate it for everyone on this team and everyone back at JRM that helps build these cars. I tried to avoid the turtle coming out of Turn 6 and just couldn’t save the car which ended our day early. We had a lot of speed and ran inside of the top five which felt great, but the ending is not what anyone wanted or expected. We will regroup and head to Michigan next weekend.”