Saturday, July 10, 2021
Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
1.5-mile quad-oval / 163 laps
Weather: Partly Cloudy; 86 degrees
No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet Finish: 9th
Making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start on a 1.5-mile track, Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet, drove from his 22nd-place starting position to inside of the top 10 in the latter stages of Saturday afternoon’s Credit Karma Money 250 NXS event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mayer then went on to survive a flurry of late-race cautions to earn his first career top-10 finish in just his third start in the NXS, taking the checkered flag in the ninth position.
Stage One Finish: 13th
Mayer lined up for the first 1.5-mile race of his NXS career in the 22nd position after the field was set through NASCAR’s mathematical formula. From the drop of the green flag Mayer had the mindset of figuring out how the car drove on this type of track. The competition caution waved on lap 20 as Mayer ran in the 16th position and reported that the QPS Employment Group Chevrolet was where it needed to be for the remainder of the stage. Restarting from the outside of row seven, Mayer settled into 13th and remained there until the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage One was displayed on lap 40.
Stage Two Finish: 14th
During the stage-ending caution, Moyer made the call to bring the driver of the No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Once back under way, Mayer settled in to the 14th position until a lap-50 yellow bunched the field back together. Restarting from the bottom of row eight for the ensuing restart, Mayer raced his way in to the 13th position until a lap-62 caution slowed the field. Restarting from the top of row six, Mayer settled back into the 14th position and held steady there until he crossed under the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage Two on lap 80.
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 an air pressure adjustment. Restarting from the top of row five, Mayer raced his way into the top 10 and up to seventh until a lap-96 yellow brought the field back together. Pitting for fuel only during the yellow as they were inside the fuel window, Mayer lined up for the ensuing restart from the top of row five. A slow restart from drivers on the outside groove forced Mayer back into the 21st position where he rode until a lap-118 yellow gave the 18-year-old an opportunity to bring the No. 8 back to pit road for four fresh tires.
Restarting from the bottom of row seven for the following restart, Mayer raced his way in to the 13th position before a lap-146 yellow gave the QPS Employment Group team an opportunity to pit for their last set of four fresh tires. Various strategies saw drivers with fresh tires mixed in with drivers on old tires and Mayer restarted in the middle of the mixture. A yellow immediately flew after the green flag for the restart as Mayer ran in the 12th position. Lining up from the top of row six for the restart that followed, Mayer utilized the high side to race his way back into 11th before the yellow flag flew after just two corners. Remaining on the outside of row seven for the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, the Franklin, Wisconsin native drove to the outside of Turn 1 and in to the ninth position to earn his first career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet
“We had a really good car and the right strategy there at the end to put us in a position to have our best finish of the year. I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and this entire No. 8 QPS Employment Group Chevrolet team enough for sticking with me all day and giving me a car this good. It feels good to finish in the top-10 and start to slowly get momentum on our side.”