Race Weekend Central

Eyes on Xfinity: Is Sam Mayer the Brightest Part of JRM’s Future?

For the second week in a row, JR Motorsports is the topic of the self-proclaimed best midweek NASCAR Xfinity Series column your eyes can read over.

Last week, we talked about the victory drought that JRM was going through, and how the top brass doesn’t stand for that too long. Enter: Sam Mayer.

Mayer piloted his No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro to his first career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday (July 29) at Road America, the Wisconsin native’s home track. The 20-year-old is one of the youngest stars in the sport and fans have waited 71 races for him to finally cross the line in first. The first win is huge, but the real question is what will Mayer do afterwards?

The expectations placed on Mayer are lofty. After being tapped to replace the retiring Michael Annett, JRM fans finally had another piece of youth to be excited about, but Mayer only somewhat delivered.

See also
Xfinity Breakdown: Sam Mayer Wins a Thriller at Road America

His rookie year was marked with a bit of inconsistency (like most drivers’ ,in fairness), but was highlighted by an abundance of top fives, including a second-place finish at Daytona and a pit-road fight with with Ty Gibbs. Those were the days, huh?

Mayer capped his rookie season off with a Championship 4 appearance, re-signed with JRM for 2023 and hasn’t looked back since.

My question, then, is this: Is Mayer the best that JRM has to look forward to? And the answer is yes.

Sure, Justin Allgaier has made a great career out of being an exceptional Xfinity driver, but with everything else at JRM up in the air right now, Mayer is the most consistent threats the team has for the long term.

With Brandon Jones being the live-action crash simulator that he’s been this season, his future looks bleak. We’ve already touched on Allgaier and Josh Berry is leaving for Stewart-Haas Racing. That means JRM has a decision to make.

See also
Happy Hour: What Is the Road Map to Road America's Cup Series Return?

That decision is a big one. If you’re JRM, do you just begin dumping resources in Mayer and his ride? Or do you go out and try to find a big name to bring in with him? We’ll blink and Allgaier will be gone. There’s no hint of consistency coming with the No. 9 car and Mayer is playing all the right cards at all the right times. Will he be the next golden boy at JRM? The numbers suggest so.

In 51 races, Mayer has notched 37 top 10s, with 12 of those coming in this year alone so far. Could this have been the race that opens the flood gates for Mayer, or he simply pull a Daniel Hemric and abstain from winning another race quite possibly ever again. These are the questions I’m supposed to be asking folks, but the bottom line is this: Sam Mayer deserves a pay raise and if he keeps racing like this, he’ll be a shoo-in to get one.

About the author

Tanner Marlar is a staff writer for On3 Sports' Maroon and White Daily covering Mississippi State Athletics, an AP Wire reporter, an award-winning sports columnist and talk show host and master's student at Mississippi State University. Soon, Tanner will be pursuing a PhD. in Communicative Research.

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