JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022
Race 33 of 33: NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 200 at Phoenix Raceway
Track Specs: 1-mile oval/ 200 laps
Race Winner: Ty Gibbs
Mayer’s finish: 34th
Points position: 7th in driver points / 8th in owner points
Sam Mayer’s strong 2022 season concluded with a stroke of misfortune for the No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team. Mayer, who drove as high as sixth with a ton of speed in the event, was hit from behind by an aggressive Sammy Smith in the race’s final stage. The contact sent Mayer spinning and triggered a multi-car wreck that resulted in damage to the rear of the No. 1 machine, relegating the team to a 34th-place finish.
The uncharacteristic finish bookends a solid year for Mayer that includes 11 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes along with one pole. Mayer raced his way to the Round of 8 in the NXS Playoffs and ended the year seventh in the championship points battle while the No. 1 team secured the eighth spot in the owner points championship.
Mayer started the race from the 13th spot, and once settled in, began to steadily improve his lap times. He rose to 10th by the stage’s halfway point but his times were equal to third-place on the track.
Mayer worked as high as eighth in the opening stage, commenting the car was “pretty good, a little on edgy side,” but he was happy with it. On a late-stage restart, Mayer slipped to 13th where he would ride out the stage.
The Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team pitted under the stage-ending caution. Mayer was still dealing with a free condition and the call came for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
The No. 1 machine lined up in 14th for the start of Stage Two. Mayer made major gains over next 45 laps. He broke back inside the top 10 and drove as high as sixth when the stage concluded. The team pitted with the field for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Mayer fired off in eighth for the final stage. Only 11 laps into the stage, Mayer was caught in the thick of the pack, racing hard for track position with several competitors when the No. 18 of Sammy Smith hit Mayer from behind. When Mayer slipped up, Smith drilled him a second time and sent the No. 1 careening onto the apron with several cars spinning to avoid the carnage.
The damage to Mayer’s machine brought him to pit road where the No. 1 team made the necessary repairs to return him to the track. Mayer finished the race well off the pace in 34th due to the damage sustained.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet team
“It was a tough day. We had so much speed before getting spun. It just wasn’t meant to be. I’m proud we were able to race everyone clean today. There’s so much and a lot of positives we have to build on for next year. I’ve got to give a big thanks to everyone who’s supported me this year, especially the folks at Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions, Huck’s Market, Jockey, and BUSDX. It’s been a really fun year.”