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Mayer Fights For Second-Place Finish at Auto Club

(Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

FONTANA, Calif. — Last week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race ended for Sam Mayer on his roof.

This week’s race ended much better for Mayer, finishing second at Auto Club Speedway. But it didn’t come easy for the 19-year-old from Franklin, Wisconsin.

After rain and snow canceled qualifying Saturday, Mayer started Sunday’s rescheduled Production Alliance 300 in the 22nd position. On the first lap, Mayer made contact with Tyler Reddick on multiple occasions but managed to gain five spots in the first 10 laps.

Mayer pitted during the Lap 15 competition caution for a shock adjustment, but the car struggled to fire off on the next two restarts. He finished the first stage in 34th.

By the end of Stage 2, Mayer worked out some of the early issues in his loose race car, making it up to seventh.

Several cautions plagued the final stage of the race, but Mayer kept clean and put himself in position to win. On a restart with 12 laps to go, Mayer made it up to second and seemingly had a chance to overtake John Hunter Nemechek. But the two kept matching lap times and Mayer couldn’t make progress, ultimately finishing second.

“That last lap means a lot,” Mayer told FOX Sports, comparing the two weeks. “We struggled early on, that’s for sure. We had our work cut out for us, but we threw the kitchen sink at it and we ended up second. So, I mean, all things considered, really happy and really proud of these guys. We started from the ground up this year, and obviously, so far, so good.”

Mayer’s first top five of the season comes under new crew chief Mardy Lindley. The two have a history together, winning the 2019 K&N Pro Series East and the 2020 ARCA Menards Series East championships.

Lindley worked for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2021 and 2022 before a reunion with Mayer at JR Motorsports.

Mayer recorded 19 top 10s last year and made the Round of 8. Under Lindley, he’s searching for his first Xfinity Series victory and a chance at the Championship 4.

The Xfinity Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday for the Alsco Uniforms 300. The race is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1. Ty Gibbs won last spring while Josh Berry won in the fall.

Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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