Race 11 of 33: Mahindra ROXOR 200 at Darlington Raceway
Track Specs: 1.366-mile oval / 147 laps
Race Winner: Justin Allgaier
Mayer’s finish: 5th
Points position: 7th (-131)
Sam Mayer and the No. 1 Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team brought home their fifth top five in the last six races by way of a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Mahindra Roxor 200 at Darlington Raceway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. After battling through the first two stages at the track “too tough to tame,” Mayer found himself in 18th for the final restart and managed to pick up 13 spots over the last three laps of competition to score the finish.
Mayer started seventh after weather cancelled yesterday’s qualifying session. Early on in the opening run, Mayer diagnosed a free condition on the No. 1 Camaro. But as the laps clicked off, the car became looser and Mayer fell to 17thby the conclusion of Stage One.
The team used the stage-ending caution to bring Mayer to pit road for four tires and fuel. Interim crew chief Andrew Overstreet also called for a big swing on adjustment to tighten up the chassis for Mayer.
Mayer took the Stage Two restart in 14th. Back up to speed, Mayer commented the car was the most comfortable it had been all day. The 18-year-old laid down solid lap times and managed to climb to seventh by the end of Stage Two.
With the Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions pit crew earning Mayer an additional spot on pit road with a quick stop, the No. 1 was shown in sixth for the opening laps of the final stage.
The crew had Mayer’s ride dialed in for the final stage, and it showed. With strong lap times, he raced inside the top five for the bulk of the stage.
A caution flag with 10 laps remaining brought the front runners to pit road with a number of slower cars electing to take track position and stay out on old tires. Mayer and the stronger cars in the field restarted mid pack, but with fresh rubber. Mayer lined up in 17th for the restart.
Mired in traffic, Mayer kept his composure and his fenders clean through the closing laps until the field slowed for a final caution that left him 18th with three laps remaining.
Mayer worked his way inside the top 10 over those final few circuits and managed to avoid a multi-car crash coming off of Turn 4 on the white-flag lap to secure a fifth-place finish.
Sam Mayer Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions Chevrolet team “It was definitely a learning day for me. Running up front with those guys in the final stage and being able to learn the different ways to drive this track was really informative. I was lost through those first two stages. But then as the last stage came around, we got the car really dialed in. It was really good and pretty spot on there at the end. Being 18th with like three to go, I don’t know what happened for us to have time to get inside the top five. But we did. And I’m really proud of this Accelerate Professional Talent Solutions team. Our goal is to keep this streak going.”