July 12, 2024

Sam Mayer and the top team seem to be back in championship form after a difficult start to the 2024 campaign.

Mayer had a breakthrough season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2023, finishing in the Championship Four and won four races. Despite failing to win the grand prize, the 20-year-old demonstrated why he was such a highly sought-after candidate.

You won’t find Mayer near the top of the list when discussing NASCAR’s top prospects, but perhaps it’s time to start putting more respect on his name. In his post-race press conference on Saturday, Mayer said it “makes him so mad” to not be in the conversation for a Cup Series seat, though this may be more due to a logjam on the prospect ladder than disrespect on the part of scouts.

Whatever the reason for the lack of mention of Mayer’s name in Cup Series stores, his remarks were supported by a performance on Saturday that saw him lead 47 laps and demonstrate his clutch gene twice. With six laps remaining, he overtook Riley Herbst for the lead in the race. In NASCAR overtime, he managed to hold off Herbst once again before winning his second race of the year.

A triumph via photo finish in April was believed to have salvaged Mayer’s season, which had gotten off to an excruciatingly sluggish start. Mayer has finished in the top five in seven of the last nine races, up from only one top-ten 10 in the season’s first six races. This record could be even better if not for an early,

Down as low as 31st in points after the season-opener at Daytona, Mayer has risen from 20th to 10th in the Xfinity Series regular-season standings over the last nine races. And with two wins to his credit, he has started to rack up the all-important playoff points that will aid him in his quest for the Xfinity Series championship.

The win also solidifies Mayer as a legitimate championship threat for the second straight season, serving as a reminder that when the No. 1 team shows up with a fast car, it’s capable of dusting the competition if it feels like it.

With 11 races remaining in the Xfinity Series regular season, Mayer has plenty of chances to add on to his playoff point total before the postseason begins. Whether or not he wins again before the playoffs start, he should be viewed as a viable threat when the Xfinity Series playoffs begin in Kansas on Sept. 28.

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