By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
RICHMOND, VA – At just 18-years-old, Sam Mayer scored the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus and a career best finish at Richmond Raceway.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series driver started the final Stage of the ToyotaCare 250 inside the top-10. As the race went caution-free, Mayer picked his way up through the field. His No. 1 Accelerate Pros Talent Chevrolet Camaro SS proved to be among the best on the long run.
The race was opposite compared to last year’s race at Richmond for the Franklin, WI native. In his first start at the 0.75-mile track last year, Mayer turned heads in a B.J. McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet, driving from 38th to the lead. However, in the middle of the Xfinity Series playoffs, the differing strategies left him 12th that day.
“We had a lot of speed last year when we came to Richmond in the fall, and we just didn’t get the finish we wanted because entire strategy was way different,” explained Mayer. “It was hotter and there were more cautions, people were on edge because the playoffs were coming up. So, the race played out way differently today. I don’t think we has but one caution (outside the Stages) the whole day.
“Obviously mindsets were way different. It led to more green flag runs and that’s exactly where our Accelerate Pros Talent Chevy Camaro kind of paid off and that long run speed was unbeatable. If we could have got to the 54 and 18 those last couple laps, I think we would have a shot to go out there and beat them too and get the win.”
In the closing laps of the 250-lap race, Mayer caught A.J. Allmendinger for third. At the time, the Kaulig Racing driver was the best running of the four Xfinity Dash 4 Cash drivers. Mayer took the spot with ease, his long-run speed giving him the advantage. When the checkered flag waved, he was third, a career-best, and $100,000 richer.
Mayer’s Dash 4 Cash win continues a three-year streak of JR Motorsports picking up the bonus. Noah Gragson earned the bonus once in 2020 and three times in 2021.
“When there’s money or anything more incentive to involve, obviously it’s going to make you feel even better,” admitted Mayer. “We’re definitely clutching up and coming around and making our good moves right here when it really matters. We have to dig ourselves out of our points hold we did a really good job of that last week, and we did another good job of that today. I’m excited to see what we can do when we keep rolling.”
“The Dash 4 Cash is awesome. Bringing home 100 grand for the organization and keeping the streak alive for them winning it is really cool. Being part of that and having my name my name on that list is really special.”
As for what Mayer will do with the money, he doesn’t have any grandiose plans. The teenager opted for a financially safe decision for the bonus he just earned.
I’ve been asked (what I’ll do with the money) four or five times. Honestly, I’m just going to put my bank account because my dumbass can’t touch that, or bad stuff will happen.”
The third-place finish is the third top-five finish for Mayer in his Xfinity Series career. By virtue of winning the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash, he has qualified to battle for the bonus once again at Martinsville Speedway.
The top-five moved Mayer up from ninth to sixth in the points standings. He’s 103-points behind leader Allmendinger. Mayer’s 37-points ahead of the playoff cutoff, currently held by Sheldon Creed.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ the Tires.