JR Motorsports Race Report: DAYTONA
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Race 1 of 33: Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5- mile course / 120 laps
Race Winner: Austin Hill
Mayer’s finish: 27th Point’s position: 19th (-39)
Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions fought hard in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway as the young driver found himself in contention for the victory. However, as Mayer raced side-by-side for the lead on the final lap, contact ensued, knocking the JR Motorsports driver upside down on the backstretch, bringing an untimely end to a strong night by the young driver. Mayer showed the speed needed to race for the win, leading for 14 laps before having his evening brought to an abrupt halt on the final lap. In the end, Mayer was scored with a 27th-place finish.
Mayer rolled off the grid in the 14th position to start the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 and held steady until the first caution of the evening on lap 7 with the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet in the 13th position. While under caution, crew chief Mardy Lindley made the strategy call to get Mayer off sequence, bringing the young driver down pit road for four tires and fuel.
Mayer remained quiet on the radio once back underway as the JRM driver patiently worked through the draft until the second caution of the night came out on lap 20. Lindley again called Mayer to pit road during this caution, but for fuel only as the No. 1 Chevrolet slid into the box.
Mayer took the bottom with five laps to go in Stage One and heeded the words of spotter Kevin Hamlin, “be smart,” as teammate Brandon Jones pushed from behind. In the end, Mayer took the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage One in 11th on lap 30.
The Franklin, Wis. native stayed out during the stage-ending caution and started Stage Two as the race leader. The JRM driver held on to the top spot for 10 consecutive laps before a caution on lap 40 forced the pack to slow down. Lindley made the call for Mayer to stay out and maintain the lead during this caution period.
The young driver found JRM teammate Jones once again following the restart, as the duo worked to the high side of the No. 21 of Austin Hill. Mayer fell short to Hill and settled in to the second spot where he finished the stage, earning nine stage points in the process.
Mayer cruised down pit road for four tires and fuel under the stage break and shuffled in line to the ninth position ahead of the start of the third and final stage of the night.
Radio chatter was quiet from the driver of the No.1 Chevrolet as he teamed up with drafting partner and teammate Jones. With 43 laps to go, Mayer was holding strong in fourth in lockstep formation with his three JRM teammates.
Then, as the laps wound down, the aggression picked up, as Mayer continued to fight inside the top five prior to a caution coming out with two laps remaining, setting up NASCAR’s version of overtime.
Lining up for the final restart of the night behind teammate Justin Allgaier, Mayer pushed forward, drafting up to the second position as the field took the white flag before making a move for the race lead as the pack raced through Turns 1 and 2.
However, as they exited the second corner, Mayer was knocked sideways, sending the JRM driver upside down in a shower of sparks.
As a result of the incident, Mayer was scored with a 27th-place finish.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 1 Accelerate Talent Group Chevrolet team
“What an unbelievable night we had with the No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet. Unfortunately, it ended in my first-time upside down in a full-body stock car fighting for the win. It’s Daytona and these wrecks are bound to happen but we were doing everything we could to fight for the win. The guys put together an incredible race car and I am just ready to get to the track next week and see what we can do in California.”