The reality that he’s going to compete in the Xfinity Series is starting to set in for Sam Mayer.
Mayer is a little over a week away from turning 18 years old (June 26), a significant milestone that marks when a NASCAR driver can be approved to run races on bigger courses. In Mayer’s case, the following day (June 27 at Pocono Raceway), he becomes the new JR Motorsports No. 8 Chevrolet driver. Taking over the car from Josh Berry, Mayer, the 2020 ARCA Menards East Series champion, will run most of the races in the second half of the season.
“I’ve sat in the car a bunch,” Mayer said. “We actually poured my (seat) insert (recently), so I was able to sit in the car and get the feel of that for the first time, and that was really exciting because I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have an Xfinity car now. That’s so cool.’”
Mayer’s preparation has included watching the races and talking to his teammates. Successful in every series he’s competed in, including winning a Camping World Truck Series race last year during a partial schedule, Mayer has high hopes of continuing that trend.
The No. 8 team is 17th in owner points and won at Martinsville Speedway with Berry, who has run 11 races, while Miguel Paludo ran three.
Seeing what Berry has done with limited Xfinity Series experience, Mayer is confident he’ll have the same pace. Plus, he’s familiar with some of the drivers he will be competing against, such as fellow part-time driver and already two-time winner Ty Gibbs, having run against Gibbs in other series.
“It makes me that much more excited to get in the car and be competitive,” Mayer said. “I can win these races; I just know it.”