Race 31 of 33: Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Cloudy; 59 degrees
Race Winner: Ty Gibbs Mayer’s Finish: 8th
Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet, drove from his 12h-place starting position to inside of the top five in the late stages of Saturday afternoon’s Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kansas Speedway. Battling within the top five nearing the end of the race, Mayer made slight contact with the outside wall, sliding him back to the eighth position. Mayer would remain in eighth in the run to the checkered flag to earn his career-best finish in the NXS.
Stage One Finish: 14th
Mayer lined up for his first race in the Land of Oz in the 12th position after the field was set through NASCAR’s mathematical formula. From the drop of the green flag Mayer battled a loose-handling Camaro as he dropped to the 16th position when the competition caution waved on lap 20. Restarting from the bottom of row eight for the ensuing restart, Mayer was determined on finding the correct line to fix the handling on the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet. A lap-28 yellow bunched the field back together and gave Mayer another opportunity to work on his racing line and continue to learn until the conclusion of the first stage. Utilizing the outside line for the following restart, Mayer went from the outside of row 10 and drove the No. 8 in to the 14th position as the green-and-checkered flag waved to end Stage One on lap 45.
Stage Two Finish: 9th
During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to bring the driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to alleviate a loose-handling condition. Exiting the pits in 12th, Mayer restarted from the outside of row seven and raced his way inside of the top 10 for the first time on lap 54. Running consistently in the ninth position during the long green flag run that followed, Mayer battled around teammate Michael Annett before making his way by on lap 74. Still dealing with a Camaro that could only run the bottom of the 1.5-mile oval, Mayer crossed under the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage Two on lap 90 in the ninth position to earn two stage points.
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 another chassis adjustment. Restarting from the top of row five, Mayer made his way into seventh before a caution waved as the cars exited Turn 2 for a multi-car incident. Restarting from the outside of row five for the following restart, Mayer settled in to the 10th position until the field was slowed for a caution on lap 103. Utilizing the outside line for the restart, Mayer gained one position and set his sights forward during the 23-lap run that followed. Running as high as sixth during the run, Mayer was trapped in the eighth position when the next caution waved on lap 135. Pitting for four tires and fuel, Mayer lined up on the bottom of row three and raced his way in to the top five following the green flag.
Racing in the sixth position behind teammate Noah Gragson, the caution waved and gave Moyer one last opportunity to work on the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet. Due to varying pit strategies Mayer lined up for the ensuing restart from the bottom of row seven. Using fresh tires to his advantage Mayer raced in to the third position with just 34 laps remaining in the 200-lap event. Falling back to fifth, Mayer battled with Gragson and Harrison Burton for position before contact sent the two drivers spinning, resulting in the caution being displayed on lap 179.
Restarting just behind the leader for the final restart, Mayer fell to seventh as fresher tires prevailed for the drivers behind the No. 8 Camaro. Slight contact with the outside wall with less than five laps remaining slowed Mayer briefly as he lost one additional spot before the checkered flag waved on lap 200.
The eighth-place result is Mayer’s career-best finish in the NXS and is his fifth top-10 finish of the 2021 season.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet
“I struggled with a loose-handling QPS Employment Group Chevrolet early on today but Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and this No. 8 team kept working to find the balance and we were really good towards the end. We made good strides today and built a notebook for when I come back here next year. I can’t thank this entire group enough for their hard work. We will move on to Martinsville next weekend and hopefully do more of the same.”