Sam Mayer Hopes Richmond Momentum Will Result In A Martinsville Grandfather Clockby Hunter Thomas April 6, 2022 0 comments
RIDGEWAY, Va. – Sam Mayer captured his best-career finish and the Dash 4 Cash bonus in Richmond, and now he hopes that he can carry the momentum to Martinsville Speedway, while in search of an additional $100,000 bonus and a grandfather clock.
If you aren’t familiar with Mayer’s name, he has come up through the sport competing in Late Model Stock Cars. He regularly competed at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina and New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, and he also raced in prestigious NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series events, such as the Myrtle Beach 400. He has 28-career ARCA Menards Series starts, including five wins, as well as 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and a win.
Last weekend’s Richmond effort marked the 25th NASCAR Xfinity start of his career. Mayer said that while the NASCAR Xfinity Series car was different than anything that he had piloted, he still felt at home, and the results show. Between this year and last season, he has captured three top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
“It’s interesting,” Mayer said. “When I got into the Xfinity car for the first time at Pocono, I felt right at home right away, but at the same time, there was so much that was different in like the mile-and-a-half stuff.”
At Richmond, Mayer started 11th, and finished 10th in Stage 1, seventh in Stage 2, and then he brought home a solid third-place effort while piloting the JR Motorsports No. 1 Accelerate Pros Talent Chevrolet. The competitive effort was his second consecutive top-five with the fifth-place result at Circuit of The Americas the weekend before in Austin, Tex.
“What a day,” Mayer said. “These guys worked really hard for this, and they deserve it for sure. This team, I think it’s their second Dash 4 Cash in the last two years, so obviously we’re going to go for more next week, but you’ve got to start somewhere. The last couple of weeks have been really, really good for me.”
Now, Mayer and his JR Motorsports team looks ahead to Martinsville Speedway, the track where he recorded hist first-ever top-five in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. A short track is familiar ground for Mayer, and this weekend, he has an opportunity to compete for the Dash 4 Cash once again and earn an additional $100,000 bonus. Add that pressure to the desire to own a grandfather clock, and you’re looking at a recipe for extra motivation, and confidence isn’t a trait that Mayer lacks.
“Obviously, I have to have the confidence going into next week at Martinsville, because I had my first top-five there last year,” Mayer said. “We’re racing for Dash 4 Cash again, so that’s a huge incentive for us as well. Obviously, there’s so much instead of just run well and prove that my name belongs here, because that’s what basically Xfinity is all about. I feel like it’s definitely coming around, I mean obviously, three top-fives and two of them coming in the last two weeks.”
However, despite piecing together solid top-five finishes, Mayer does sit sixth in points with four finishes outside of the top-20, but for example, he finished 25th at Las Vegas after leading 25 laps. The poor finish was the result of contact that sent Mayer into the outside wall, so bad luck has played a role in his current points position.
Mayer said, “Obviously, we’re hitting our stride right at the right spot for all of this money that we can hopefully make, but obviously, we want to have that at the end of the year, too, so we have to grind really hard to get ourselves out of this points hole that we’re in and get to the Playoffs and hopefully get into championship form and win the championship.
“We’ve had speed every single track this year so far, literally. Vegas, we led a bunch of laps and then got wrecked with 20 to go, so it’s like we’re up there, we can find our way up there, we’ve just got to manage to stay up there and stay clean and kind of mind our own business.”
Mayer has more than just Martinsville on his mind. He’s also looking at the bigger picture of potentially competing for a championship come the fall. Capitalizing on early opportunities will certainly aide in that effort and this weekend, Mayer will have a good opportunity to maximize the team’s efforts. Just last year, Mayer’s teammate, Josh Berry won the spring race after leading 95 laps at Martinsville, so the team has good notes and understands how to earn a victory at the track.
“I’m figuring it out,” Mayer said. “The team knows what they have to do. They’re doing a really damn good job of it. It’s just about staying clean and staying out there, and Martinsville is a really good track for us. Obviously, the team won there with Josh Berry last year in the spring and a top-five with me in the fall, so they have really good notes there.”
Mayer says that he’s going to lean on Berry heading into Friday’s race. Berry has clocked may laps around Martinsville Speedway. Aside from his NASCAR national series experience at the track, Berry has competed in eight NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series ValleyStar Credit Union 300 events, leading a total of 305 laps and earning a win in 2019 after leading wire-to-wire.
“He’s really good obviously, especially at Martinsville like with the Late Model stuff and everything,” said Mayer about Berry. “He’s someone I’m definitely going to lean on. He’s going to have a lot of phone calls next week from a lot of different people.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Call 811 Before You Dig 250 Powered by Call811.com will broadcast live on FS1 and MRN at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com