Race 33 of 33: NXS Championship Race 200 at Phoenix Raceway
Track Specs: 1-mile oval / 200 laps
Weather: Clear; 77 degrees
Race Winner: Daniel Hemric Mayer’s Finish: 13th
Making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Phoenix Raceway, Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet, drove from his 11th-place starting position to inside of the top 10 during Saturday evening’s NXS season finale, ultimately rallying back from a loose wheel midway through the race to earn a resilient 13th-place finish.
Stage One Finish: 11th
Mayer lined up for his first NXS start at Phoenix from the 11th position after the lineup was set by qualifying on Saturday afternoon. From the drop of the green flag Mayer settled in to a top 15 running position before racing in to 12th at the midpoint of the first stage. Battling a tight-handling Tire Pros Chevrolet, Mayer pushed on and made his way in to the 11th position, where he would cross under the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 45.
Stage Two Finish: 11th
During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to bring the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment but a loose wheel on the stop would bring Mayer back down pit road before the drop of the green. Restarting from 24th, Mayer relentlessly pushed forward to the 21st position before the caution was displayed. Remaining on track, Mayer restarted from the 21st position and moved in to the 17th position by lap 69 and up to 13th by lap 75. When the green-and-white checkered flag waved on lap 90, Mayer was scored in the 11th position.
Prior to the start of the third and final stage, Moyer made the call to bring Mayer down pit road for four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment to alleviate a tight-handling condition in the Tire Pros Chevrolet. Restarting from 14th, Mayer remained there until a lap-99 yellow bunched the field back together and gave Mayer another opportunity to move forward. Battling through a slew of yellows in the coming laps, Mayer used a never give up attitude as he battled his way into 12th by lap 121. A lap-124 caution period gave Moyer the opportunity to put four fresh tires on the Tire Pros Chevrolet to help Mayer continue his ascent up the leaderboard. Restarting from 15th, Mayer eyed the top 10 as he raced his way in to 11th on lap 145 and maintained that track position until a caution with less than 20 laps remaining brought the No. 8 back down pit road for their last set of sticker tires.
Restarting from 14th, Mayer narrowly avoided a spinning car that brought the caution out on lap 188 and moved the 18-year-old in to the 14th position. Battling with numerous drivers for position just outside of the top 10 as the caution was displayed with six laps remaining, Mayer had one last chance to move as far forward as possible. Utilizing the low line for the final restart, Mayer pushed and prodded his way to a 13th-place finishing position to end the 2021 season.
Sam Mayer, driver No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet
“First off I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and this entire No. 8 Tire Pros team for sticking behind me the last half of the season and for giving me great cars each week. It was so hard to pass here but we gave it our all and built ourselves a nice notebook for when we come back here next season. I’m looking forward to the offseason but I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of these race cars.”