Race 23 of 33: Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile tri-oval / 100 laps
Race Winner: Jeremy Clements
Mayer’s finish: 34th
Points position: 9th (-306)
Driving one of the strongest cars in the field, Sam Mayer kept the No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet in the mix and near the front of the pack all night in Friday’s Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Mayer positioned himself for a potential victory, running fourth with eight laps to go, when the No. 1 was collected in a multi-car crash that ended his night and relegated the team to a 34th-place finish. Despite the setback, Mayer and the team are still in playoff contention with three races remaining in the regular season.
Following a nearly three-hour delay due to weather, Mayer started the race in fourth and immediately went to work in the high line, finding the third position in only a handful of laps.
Mayer maintained the spot, but a caution on lap 15 brought him to pit road for fuel and a speedy chassis adjustment after diagnosing the car as “super free”, a change that would give him more security behind the wheel.
That dropped the No. 1 to 16th for the ensuing restart as the bulk of the field elected to stay out. Mayer then found the rear bumper of JRM teammate Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 and the duo made quick progress. They climbed inside the top 10 where Mayer finished out Stage One in eighth.
The Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team pitted a second time under the stage-ending caution, electing to take on tires, fuel and adjustments to further snug up handling.
Mayer dropped back to 17th for the Stage Two restart and fired off in heavy mid-pack traffic, patiently biding his time and logging laps. His patience paid off when he worked the No. 1 back inside the top five and concluded Stage Two in fourth, improving 13 positions over the course of the stage.
The team came to pit road for a two-tire stop under the stage break and lined up in fourth for the onset of the final stage. When the field shifted into single-file racing, Mayer got shuffled out of the top line and lost several positions before he fell back in the running order to 11th.
Mayer managed to dig himself out of the deficit, wheeling his way up to seventh, and then to fourth by the lap 84 caution.
Once back to green-flag racing, Mayer had his sights set on getting to the lead spot, and was in position to do so. While dicing with the leaders with eight laps to go, the No. 1 was collected in a multi-car crash that ended the team’s night shy of the finish in 34th.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet team
“It’s unfortunate and disappointing how things ended for sure. But we had a bad-fast Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet. All four JRM cars were really the class of the field tonight. It just didn’t work out for us, but we have nothing to hang our heads about. It’s just how these races go sometimes. I appreciate everyone’s hard work.”