Sam Mayer hadn’t won a NASCAR Xfinity Series Race before July 29, 11 whole weeks ago. Since then, he’s won three times, and Saturday’s (Oct.21) win in the Contender Boats 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway might be the biggest.
Mayer took the reins of the race from Cole Custer with about 50 laps to go after Custer blew a right-front tire. From that point, Mayer was able to survive a final lap charge from Riley Herbst to lock himself into the Championship 4.
Mayer becomes the first driver in the Round of 8 to advance. John Hunter Nemechek also appears to be in good shape heading into next week’s penultimate race at Martinsville Speedway, as his third-place finish gives him a 47-point advantage over the cut line.
“Overall, solid day for us,” said Nemechek. ‘We had a solid points day. With the 1 (Sam Mayer) winning, it kind of took away our chance to lock it up today. Still a solid cushion behind us going into Martinsville. We won there early this year, so hopefully we can go there and have a solid day. It doesn’t matter if we win. As long as we lock into Phoenix, that is all that matters.”
Earnhardt made his second start of the Xfinity Series season, faring far better this time out, although he was involved in a dust-up with outgoing driver/teammate Josh Berry late in the race.
The incident left Berry’s car damaged beyond repair and he finished 31st.
Allgaier struggled with his racecar, and in a desperate attempt to keep his track position, stayed out too long with a loose wheel, which ended up damaging the wheel and tire mechanisms on the No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro. Allgaier fell back through the field, but rallied to a 15th-place finish. He’s narrowly outside the cut line behind Hill going into the next race.
Smith was collected in a multi-car incident on lap 97, which ended his day after the team attempted to repair the damage. He finished in 34th.
Creed’s team tried to play a tire strategy card that left Creed out on old tires for a very long time. Had a caution come out before it did, Creed would’ve had fresh tires for an overtime restart. It never came, and Creed blew a tire coming to the white flag. He finished in 26th.
Creed and Smith are both in a must-win position heading into the race at Martinsville, as is Sammy Smith.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to Martinsville Speedway on Saturday (Oct. 28th). Coverage airs on USA Network, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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