Race 12 of 33: SRS Distribution 250
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 167 laps
Race Winner: Tyler Reddick
Mayer’s finish: 3rd Point’s position: 7th (-124)
Sam Mayer challenged for the top spot all day long in Saturday’s SRS Distribution 250 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Texas Motor Speedway, eventually finishing third in the Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet. The third-place result matched his career-best mark, set five races ago at Richmond Raceway, and is the sixth top-five result in the last seven races for the 18-year-old driver. As a result, Mayer increased his advantage in series points over the eighth-place driver.
Mayer qualified his No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet ninth for the 167-lap grind on the 1.5-mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway and wasted little time moving forward. The 18-year-old was fifth after just one lap and up to fourth the next time under the flag stand. Developing a slight tilt to the tight side, Mayer dropped back to sixth, but got back into the top five just prior to a caution flag at lap 21.
Telling crew chief Andrew Overstreet that he was still tight on throttle, Mayer and his team elected to stay on track during the first yellow but made a plan for the Stage One stop. On the restart, Mayer was able to maintain the top five and eventually finished sixth in the 40-lap Stage One. That was good for five bonus stage points to add to his total for the day.
On pit road at the end of the stage, Mayer took four tires, fuel and an adjustment, but had to change the car’s transponder. NASCAR officials allowed Mayer to maintain his position following the pit stop after the service was completed. There was also a small hole in the front bodywork, but team members could not fix that while changing the transponder.
Lining up 23rd for the Stage Two restart after several cars pitted prior to the stage break, Mayer again moved forward quickly and passed up to 19th in the first two laps of green-flag racing. Five laps later, Mayer worked traffic up to 15th and was running in 14th when the caution waved at lap 56. Under the yellow, Mayer told Overstreet that his water temperature gauge was fluctuating, but would settle down after time. Overstreet elected to keep his driver on the track, now in 13th position.
Mayer stayed on the throttle, advancing to ninth at lap 65 while running top-three lap times, some faster than the leader. Eight laps later, Mayer had risen to seventh place and would finish Stage Two there, taking another four stage points in the process.
Mayer told Overstreet that his Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet was still tight to the throttle, but otherwise good except in dirty air. On pit road at the end of Stage Two, Mayer took four tires and fuel with air-pressure and chassis adjustments and gained two positions on the exchange.
Restarting from fifth, Mayer was in the same line as teammate Josh Berry, the leader at the time. Berry got loose at the exit of Turn 2 and several cars scattered to miss him. Mayer was able to avoid any mishap and continued on in fourth position.
Once the field was reset, Mayer stayed in the top six for the early laps and had just gotten back into the top five when the caution waved again at lap 98. Mayer told Overstreet that he was loose for the first time all day, and that he was good with the balance.
Restarting from the top of the second row, Mayer took third soon after the green flag waved and settled in there before taking the runner-up spot on lap 113. He was still there five laps later when another caution slowed the running.
Overstreet called his driver to pit road for four tires and fuel at that point, with no adjustments as Mayer was happy with the balance of the car. Running the high line, Mayer reported that the traction compound was beginning to fade.
With 45 laps remaining, Mayer took the green flag in eighth position and quickly advanced to sixth before yet another caution waved.
After a couple more caution flags, Mayer had moved to fifth for the restart with 22 laps remaining. Starting on the inside of the third row, the young driver took fifth place on the break and kept coming, taking fourth on lap 149.
Chasing Austin Hill for third, Mayer finally got around for third at lap 162 and fended off a challenge from teammate Justin Allgaier all the way to the checkered flag to notch the third-place finish.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 1 Accelerate Talent Group Chevrolet team
“I’m just thankful for the consistency that we’ve found with this team, even though we don’t have Taylor (crew chief Taylor Moyer) on the box. This No. 1 team is really good and the Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet was really, really fast. We were a little bit short today, I was really thirsty for it, searching all day, and I held off the 7 (Allgaier) to do it, which is a first for me. We’ll go to Charlotte with some momentum next week.”