Watkins Glen International
Track Specs: 2.45-mile Road Course / 82 laps
Weather: Partly Cloudy; 78 degrees
Race Winner: Ty Gibbs Mayer’s Finish: 10th
Making his second NASCAR Xfinity Series start on a road course, Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, drove from his 23rd-place starting position to inside of the top 10 in the latter stages of Saturday afternoon’s Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200 NXS event at Watkins Glen International. Mayer then went on to survive a flurry of late-race cautions to earn his second career top-10 finish in just his fifth start in the NXS, taking the checkered flag in the 10th position.
Stage One Finish: 10th
Mayer lined up for his first NXS start at the 2.45-mile road course in the 23rd position after the field was set through NASCAR’s mathematical formula earlier in the week. From the drop of the green flag Mayer charged forward, needing only three laps to join the top 20 and into the 17th position before the first yellow flag of the event was thrown. Restarting from 17th Mayer began his ascent up the leaderboard once again as he raced into the 15th position before the lap 10 competition caution was displayed. Staying on track during the yellow, Mayer restarted from the 15th position and quickly moved forward as he joined the top 10 for the first time on lap 17 and remained there until the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed on lap 20 to earn one stage point to begin the afternoon.
Stage Two Finish: 7th
During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to bring the driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Restarting from the 17th position as Stage Two went green, Mayer rejoined the top 10 on lap 28 and worked his way up to sixth before a lap-33 yellow bunched the field back together. Restarting from fifth due to varying pit strategies, Mayer battled inside of the top five for the remaining four laps of the stage, crossing under the green-and-white checkered flag in seventh on lap 40 to earn an additional four stage points to bring his total to five for the afternoon.
Prior to the start of the third and final stage, Moyer made the strategy call to keep the JR Motorsports Chevrolet on track to stay with their fuel strategy. Restarting from the fourth position, Mayer raced his way into third following the restart and remained there until a lap-48 yellow slowed the field. Pitting for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, Mayer restarted the race from the rear of the field as the team received a penalty for a crewmember over the wall too soon.
Due to having to start at the rear, Moyer made the call to bring the JRM driver to pit road as the green flag flew to top off with fuel as they were close on making it to the finish of the race. Once back on track Mayer started his charge towards the front as he joined the top-25 on lap 57 and the top-20 on lap 64. The next yellow flag flew on lap-66 as the 18-year-old was 17th on the leaderboard. Mayer brought the No. 8 Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to alleviate a loose-handling Camaro. Restarting from 25th due to varying pit strategies amongst the leaders, Mayer needed only five laps to race his way back into the top 15 and remained there until a lap-76 yellow slowed the field for the final time on the afternoon. Taking advantage of his fresher tires, Mayer drove inside of the top 10 on lap 80 and remained there until the checkered flag waved on lap 82.
The 10th-place finish is Mayer’s second career top 10 in the NXS in only his fifth start in the series.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet
“We had a great car today and there were times where we were running the fastest laps on track but a penalty on pit road set us back late in the race. The guys never gave up and gained spots on our next stop to help us move towards the front. Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) called a great race and it feels good to get another top 10 on the year and just knowing that we had this amount of speed today. I am looking forward to Indianapolis next week and racing on another road course, but this time with a little practice and qualifying beforehand.”