By: Ashley McCubbin
After setting the bar high in both ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition, the day has finally come for Sam Mayer to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with JR Motorsports.
Although he’s excited for the opportunity, he admits being nervous with a lack of qualifying and practice. However, combining team knowledge and his track knowledge from Friday’s ARCA event, he thinks they can come away with a top-10 finish.
“It’s going out there a little bit, but I know the team has a really good package, run well for the past three or four years here,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I feel like if I can do my part, then we can have a really good run here.”
The team aspect is very important, as while crew chief Taylor Moyer has proven his worth in leading Josh Berry to victory lane in 2021, there’s also some experienced teammates for Mayer to lean on. Going into the weekend, the 18-year-old says he’s been asking for advice.
“Obviously, I’m going to lean on them a lot more on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as we get closer to the race, and they might lean on me because I know the track a little bit more than them in running it Thursday and Friday,” he explained. “The more information shared in one house is better than none.”
The elder statesmen of the stable, Justin Allgaier, is excited to see the potential Mayer has behind the wheel after seeing his success through the ranks. However, he also advises to his young teammate to not push so hard and try and prove his worth immediately.
“But my biggest advice for him is there’s a lot of time to prove yourself over these next couple years,” Allgaier told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “At the end of the day, I think that’s the biggest important piece of all of this. Not to get overly excited, go out there, and do the best job you can, and if that’s a 10th-place finish, that’s a 10th-place finish. If you can win the race, then be all means do that.
“But I think it’s so easy to come into this sport and get caught up in all of the glitz, glamour and pressure of everyone wanting you to succeed at an early age. At some times, that can be a detriment to someone’s career; I’ve seen some drivers that are really talented come and gone because people just expected them to perform right out of the box and that shouldn’t be realistic. I hope he can come out, can learn, and do a great job and be prepared to look at 2022 and use the information he learned this year to go for a championship next year.
“But again, he’s plenty talented that I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s going for a win at Pocono, but again, be realistic about it. I think you need to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. The most important piece is going to be finishing all the laps.”