By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
NEWTON, Iowa— Sam Mayer’s year started by being named to JR Motorsports’ championship-winning Late Model program and his motorsports career took the next step on Saturday at Iowa Speedway with his ARCA Racing Series debut. Mayer qualified the No. 40 MDM Motorsports Toyota in the 10th position and brought the car home with a 10th-place finish.
Mayer gained a couple of positions in the early going as the first third of the race was run under green flag conditions. After the first trip down pit road, the car was handling to Mayer’s liking and he picked up two more positions to take sixth. Unfortunately the right adjustments weren’t made on the second round of pit stops and the 15-year-old driver fought a loose race car on the final run.
“That was a long one. This is probably one of the most physically demanding races I’ve run, Mayer told Motorsports Tribune.
“Our car started out pretty good. We made an adjustment on that first pit stop which made it pretty darned perfect. We were able to get up to the top-six at one point. But the second pit stop we didn’t make the adjustment we wanted really and ended up going the wrong way. Overall we were just too loose right there at the end so we really couldn’t do anything. The MDM guys worked really hard and it really paid off by getting our first top-10 finish in ARCA.
Mayer was involved in an incident with Christian Eckes with 45 laps to go that sent Eckes for a spin and resulted in a caution flag.
“It was just a racing incident,” Mayer said of the contact. “I’m sorry to Christian; I didn’t mean to do that.
“We were really loose right there and then we got the aero and side force which just added on to it and got up into his left rear and I apologize for that. Overall, we were really successful today. That’s a win getting a top-10 in my first start.”
The Franklin, Wisconsin learned a lot over the course of the 150 laps on the 0.875-mile oval dubbed “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”
”This track is just amazing. It’s so fun to run on. I was better on the bottom towards the end just because we were so loose. I was able to go pretty much anywhere on the race track at any time I really wanted to so that’s the fun aspect of it and that just makes it enjoyable to be a race car driver.
Mayer, the son of former IndyCar and Grand-Am sports car driver Scott Mayer, started racing go-karts at the age of 4 and will continue his climb up the ladder with a second ARCA start at Lucas Oil Raceway in September.
“That will be a fun one. I really like that track on iRacing so that will be fun.”