Race Face Driver Mayer Battles to 7th in CARS LMSC Run at Orange County

JR Motorsports driver Sam Mayer’s night got off to a pretty dismal start Saturday at Orange County Speedway, but the young Wisconsin driver made lemonade out of lemons by rallying to a seventh-place finish in the CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Car Series event on the .375-mile track.

In qualifying, Mayer hit the wall hard on his out lap but still managed to qualify 16th in the 23-car field. Little did he know that the impact, which did not seem major at the time, had bent the Chevrolet’s frame, which required extensive repairs. Due to those repairs, Mayer had to start shotgun on the 23-car field for the 100-lap CARS Tour event.

The road did not get any easier for Mayer once the green flag waved, either. He was caught up in a lap-three scrum that involved five cars and further damaged his Menards-backed Chevrolet. After pitting for more repairs, Mayer rejoined the race in 22nd place.

Mayer had moved up to 16th at the 40-lap mark when another caution waved. On the ensuing restart, Mayer got a great jump and gained four positions in five laps.  He stayed on the fringe of the top 10 until lap 80, when another yellow involved the cars running sixth and seventh. That put him 10th for the restart. He avoided another crash with two to go to get to seventh and very nearly salvaged a top five when the two cars ahead of him wrecked coming to the checkered flag. Deac McCaskill won the race, followed by Brandon Pierce, Bobby McCarty, Lee Pulliam and Ty Gibbs.

JRM driver Josh Berry did not compete at Orange County, as he was racing in the ARCA Racing Series at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. He finished fourth in the 200-lap event.

The JR Motorsports teams will next see action on May 5, when the CARS Response Energy Tour heads to Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Sam Mayer, driver No. 9 Menards/JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Going into this race I had high expectations because the JRM team did really well the last time they came here. That was the first time I have ever hit the wall in qualifying, and I was really worried because no one was telling me anything about whether the car was OK or not. I didn’t think I hit it horribly hard, but I found out after the race that the car was in pretty bad shape. Even having a bent-up car, the JRM team did a great job adjusting to the adversity and making the car good enough to run seventh. It was a fun, and crazy race, and I was glad to be a part of it.”

Track Specs: .375-mile oval / 100-lap feature

Mayer’s start/finish:  23rd/7th