New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway
Track Specs: 2-mile D-Shaped-oval / 125 laps
Weather: Sunny; 84 degrees
Race Winner: AJ Allmendinger Mayer’s Finish: 33rd
Making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start on a 2-mile oval, Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet, drove from his 16th-place starting position to inside of the top 10 late in Stage One of Saturday afternoon’s New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Then, while going green following a late restart in the stage, Mayer reported that he could not get the No. 8 car into fourth gear. Soldiering on to the end of Stage One, Mayer was forced to take the QPS Employment Group Chevrolet behind the wall to allow the team a chance to fix the transmission. Returning to the track following the repairs, Mayer battled to regain any track position he could. Mayer was ultimately scored with a 33rd-place finish.
Stage One Finish: 37th
Mayer started the 250-mile race from the 16th position as the starting order was set by NASCAR’s mathematical formula earlier in the week. Once underway, the driver of No. 8 Chevrolet settled into his 15th-place running position until the competition caution waved on lap 15. Lining up from the top of row nine for the subsequent restart, Mayer drove in to the 10th position and up to ninth when the next caution waved on lap 21. Restarting from the top of row six for the ensuing restart, Mayer hit the gas and couldn’t get the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet to shift into fourth gear. Doing what he could to work his way around the track for the three laps remaining in the stage, Mayer concluded Stage One in the 37th position but was able to remain on the lead lap.
Stage Two Finish: 40th
During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer called the 18-year-old to pit road in order to attempt to fix the transmission problem. Losing a lap on pit road, Mayer attempted to exit pit road in fourth gear but was unable to keep the car fired. Firing the car back in first gear, Mayer took the No. 8 back to the garage and the team went to work replacing the transmission. Rejoining the race with one lap remaining in Stage Two, the Franklin, Wis. native settled in to the 40th-position and was set on gaining as many positions as possible to score points for the Owner’s Championship in the final stage.
Gaining one lap back on the field by receiving the wave-around, Mayer restarted the third and final stage from the rear of the field. Improving three positions on the leaderboard by rejoining the race, Mayer was scored in the 37th position, 25 laps behind the leader. Once back underway, Mayer was set on learning the track, car and the handling as a long green flag run ensued. Pitting for four tires and fuel during the green flag run, Mayer came back on the track in the 34th-position and was content on riding the remainder of the race. A late-race yellow bunched the field and provided another opportunity for the No. 8 team to gain one additional position as the race went into NASCAR’s version of overtime.
Crossing the line after several attempts at overtime, Mayer was scored with a 33rd-place finishing position. With this finish, Mayer was able to keep hold of the teams 17th-place in the Owner’s Championship standings and closed in on joining the top 15.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet
“We had a really fast QPS Employment Group Chevrolet today but on the restart in the first stage I couldn’t get the car to lock into fourth gear, which put us behind the wall early in the race. The guys got it fixed and we were able to join the race to gain a couple extra positions that help out with our run for the Owner’s Championship. I can’t thank this group enough for the hard work they put in today and every day to get this car to the track and to be capable of running towards the front. We will regroup and head to Daytona next week!”