Sam Mayer Brings It Home At Iowa

Sam Mayer

In a race of tire management and hurt feelings, Sam Mayer held off Riley Herbst in overtime to win Saturday’s Hy-Vee Perks 250 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ return to Iowa Speedway after a four-year hiatus.

Mayer’s No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet crossed the finish line 0.146 seconds ahead of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Herbst, who felt Mayer had abused him earlier in the race.
The victory was Mayer’s second of the season and the sixth of his career, all coming within the last 29 races in the series.

“We struggled (Friday in practice), and the team went to work,” said Mayer, who started fifth when qualifying was canceled because of rain earlier on Saturday. “Obviously, we did pretty good overnight, making different changes on this race car.

“I feel really good. I could do another 100 laps — with a race car like this, it would be a lot of fun.”
Mayer held the lead when John Hunter Nemechek slammed the outside wall in Turn 4 with his left front tire down, the result of close quarters racing with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sheldon Creed.

That accident on Lap 245 caused the ninth caution of the afternoon and sent the race three laps beyond its scheduled distance.

In the overtime, Mayer and Herbst took the green flag side-by-side and remained in that posture into Turn 1, but Mayer cleared the race runner-up off Turn 2 and held the top spot the rest of the way.
“I like racing Sam, but Stage 1 or 2 he just absolutely brooms me,” Herbst said. “We were racing clean for fourth, and he takes us back to 10th and then doors me down the back straightaway before the green-white-checker.

“It’s just frustrating the way he wants to do that, but all in all, it was fun. I’m happy to be back on ovals. The speed is back in the 98.”

Corey Heim finished a career-best third after starting 22nd because of the qualifying rainout. Sammy Smith was fourth, followed by Creed, who survived the dust-up with Nemechek after a restart on Lap 238.
Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, Chandler Smith, Ross Chastain and Daniel Dye completed the top 10.
If any driver had cause for frustration, it was Chandler Smith, who led a race-high 131 laps and swept the first two stages. Smith restarted third to begin the final stage, but lack of short-run speed quickly dropped him to 12th, and he never recovered.

Austin Hill likewise had reason to bemoan his result. Overcoming early handling issues, Hill charged into the top five in the final stage, but a cut left front tire sent him hard into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 218, causing the seventh caution.

Hill finished 29th and dropped to third in the series standings, 41 points behind Custer, the current leader and defending series champion. Chandler Smith, second in the standings, trails Custer by one point.

Check out the results of the Hy Vee Perks 250 at Iowa Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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