Race 30 of 33: Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Sunny; 72 degrees
Race Winner: John Hunter Nemechek Mayer’s Finish: 13th
Making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Texas Motor Speedway, Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet, drove from his 11th-place starting position to inside of the top five in the early stages of Saturday afternoon’s Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 NXS event. Then, midway through the opening stage, contact with another car forced the JR Motorsports driver to make an unscheduled pit stop, shuffling Mayer back outside of the top 30. Undaunted by the task at hand, Mayer battled back over the remainder of the event, earning stage points following Stage Two and running working his way inside the top 10 during the final stage before ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 13th position.
Stage One Finish: 17th
Mayer lined up for his first race at Texas in the 11th position after the field was set through NASCAR’s mathematical formula. From the drop of the green flag Mayer moved forward, needing only two laps to drive inside of the top 10. Racing in the 10th position as the competition caution waved on lap 20, Mayer reported that his No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet was loose off throttle. Restarting from the inside of row five for the ensuing restart, Mayer checked up to avoid a slower car but contact from behind caused a tire rub on the left rear fender. An immediate yellow saved Mayer as crew chief Taylor Moyer called the No. 8 down pit road to fix the damage and replace the two left side tires in the process. Restarting from the rear of the field Mayer set his eyes forward as he raced his way up to 25th before the next caution waved on lap 39. Pitting for right side tires during the caution, Mayer lined up for the restart from the 17th position. With a one-lap-dash to end Stage One, Mayer remained in the 17th position as he crossed under the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 45.
Stage Two Finish: 3rd
During the stage-ending caution, Moyer made the call to keep the driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet on track as they had just taken tires one lap prior. Restarting from the third position, Mayer settled in just behind the front two running cars until a lap-54 caution bunched the leaders back together. Restarting from third, Mayer raced into the runner-up position before a lap-64 yellow slowed the field once again. Starting from the outside of the front row, Mayer fell to third and settled in until the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed on lap 90 to end Stage Two. Mayer earned eight stage points for the result.
Prior to the start of the third and final stage, Moyer made the call to bring the QPS Employment Group Chevrolet to pit road for another set of four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Restarting from the inside of row two, Mayer held steady in the third position when a lap-99 caution was displayed. Restarting from third once again, Mayer battled an ill-handling Camaro that proved arduous to drive as he dropped down to the 11th position. Reporting the car was way too loose, he raced around the 12th position until a lap-141 caution gave Moyer an opportunity to work on the QPS Employment Group Chevrolet. Pitting during the yellow for four tires, fuel and to fix some slight damage sustained, Mayer came out of the pits in the 14th position. Restarting from the top of row six, Mayer utilized the high-side to gain one position before the final caution was displayed on lap 172. The JR Motorsports driver brought his No. 8 Camaro to pit road for the final time for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to alleviate a loose-handling Camaro. Restarting from 14th with less than 20 laps remaining, Mayer pressed on and battled his way to a 13th-place finish.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet
“We struggled to find the balance on the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet during the latter parts of the race and just couldn’t make up any ground. It felt good to run towards the front in Stage Two and put an entire race together after getting a little damage early on. We will press on to Kansas next week and hopefully be near the front again.”