JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022
Race 27 of 33: Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Race Winner: Noah Gragson
Mayer’s finish: 8th
Points position: 7th (+1 over cutline)
It was an uphill battle from the outset for Sam Mayer and the No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team in Saturday’s Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, the first race in the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Mayer and company overcame a host of issues on a long, hot day but rallied to take home an eighth-place finish with damage to boot. Additionally, the effort propels the team up two positions to seventh in the playoff standings. Mayer is a single marker ahead of the cutoff position with two races to go in the opening round.
Even with a fifth-place starting spot, Mayer’s race was tested early when leader Brandon Jones, two cars ahead of Mayer, spun off the nose of Daniel Hemric. He was forced to jump hard on the brakes and give up all his momentum, and ultimately 10 positions, to avoid making contact.
Despite falling back to 15th, Mayer worked back to the top 10 by lap 12. Running some of the fastest lap times on the track, he kept the pressure on and found sixth by the race’s first caution on lap 19.
The ensuing restart had Mayer mixing it up with some aggressive competitors. As a result, Mayer slipped up out of the groove long enough to pick up debris on his tires. In the next pair of corners, the lack of grip resulted in the No. 1 pancaking the outside wall.
The contact caused damage to the car’s splitter bar and Mayer dropped to 20th.
Mayer held on with the damaged machine until the next caution flag on lap 37 allowed the team to pit for repairs along with four tires and fuel. In fact, after the initial stop crew chief Taylor Moyer called Mayer back to pit road a second time for additional repairs, all while keeping the Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet on the lead lap.
Mayer would end Stage One in 27th and utilize the stage-ending caution for more repairs on pit road.
With a much better handling car after the pit stops, Mayer spent the bulk of Stage Two finding his rhythm. He restarted 32nd but climbed to 21st at the stage’s halfway point. He kept after it, and by the conclusion of Stage Two, the team was 10th.
Lining up in seventh for the final stage, Mayer drifted to 12th and fell into a gaggle of competitors racing nose to tail. Directly in front of the No. 1 car, Brandon Brown made contact with AJ Allmendinger and set off a multi-car on the backstretch. Mayer avoided the bulk of the incident but did receive left-front damage, which sent the team back to pit road for fresh tires and repairs.
Once back to green-flag racing, Mayer again had to dodge a bullet when several of the leaders tangled, stirring up another crash involving nine cars. With help from his spotter Brandon McReynolds, Mayer snaked his way through and improved to 13th.
Mayer found the top 10 not long after with a car that seemed to get faster the longer the run went on. With green-flag pit stops beginning with 40 laps to go, Mayer cycled as high as third before coming to pit road himself.
He emerged from his stop in 14th and spent the remaining of the race maneuvering his way to eighth. It stands as the No. 1 team’s third consecutive top 10 finish.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet team
“I think given everything that happened today, we’ll take our top eight and move on. It was tough but this Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team was up for the challenge. We had so much speed, but we just kept getting caught up in things. We had to fight all day to salvage what we could. I got marbles on my tires going into Turns 3 and 4 after some guys were racing really aggressively. I trusted the traction compound more than I probably should have, got loose and overcorrected into the wall. At least we hit it flat so it didn’t hurt us too bad. All things considered, I’m happy for the team. They’ve done a good job. I just have to make sure I do my part the next two races.”