Sam Mayer returns for the 2024 season as driver of the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, fresh off his first appearance in the Championship 4. The 20-year-old Mayer capped his second full-time season with JRM in 2023 with a career-best four victories, 13 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes on the way to a third-place finish in the final standings, thanks to a fifth-place finish in the winner-take-all finale at Phoenix Raceway. The 2023 season marked Mayer’s second straight as a NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff participant.
In his second full-time season in the series – he ran a partial schedule in 2021 – Mayer reunited with crew chief Mardy Lindley, who led the young Wisconsin native to more than 15 victories together and earned championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (2019) and the ARCA Menards Series (2020). The duo meshed quickly and Mayer began the season with a bang, finishing second in the second race of the season at California Speedway and adding a seventh-place result at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Long noted as a road-course ace, Mayer was a force on the twisty tracks in 2023. He captured his first career NXS victory at Road America, not far from his hometown of Franklin, Wis. Mayer battled near the front all day and survived a wild ending sequence, taking the lead for the final time off the last corner and out-dragging Parker Kligerman to the checkered flag.
Road-course success continued for the young driver, as he won again at Watkins Glen later in the season, finished second on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and clinched his spot in the Championship 4 with a must-win triumph on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In eight road-course starts, Mayer logged three of his four victories—the other came at Homestead-Miami Speedway late in the season to earn his berth in the Championship 4—a second-place run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, a third at Portland International Raceway, seventh at Circuit of the Americas and 10th at Sonoma Raceway. He finished 18th in the rain-drenched street race through the streets of downtown Chicago. The results gave Mayer an average finish of 5.4 in those eight races.
Mayer flashed talent on the ovals as well, logging the win at HMS and adding eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Runner-up finishes at California and Pocono went along with a third-place run at Nashville Superspeedway to boot.
Mayer, the son of former Indy Car and road racing star Scott Mayer, has a successful history with JRM. A 2018 alumnus of the organization’s Late Model program, Mayer won his first CARS Late Model Stock Car race at Wake County Speedway and earned seven top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 23 starts, resulting in a fifth-place finish in CARS LMSC points with the organization. Additionally, Mayer added two victories in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition at the legendary Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and earned the prestigious Bojangles Summer Shootout Series title in the U.S. Legend Car Pro Division at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Mayer’s start in the sport came at the ripe age of 4 in the go-kart ranks in his home state of Wisconsin. He won several races and regional series titles before moving to the national series at the age of 10. That season, the young driver raced in three national karting series, winning the United States Pro Kart Series and finishing second in both the Route 66 Race Series and the World Karting Manufacturer’s Cup Series driving for Merlin Karts of Italy and Franklin Motorsports of Wisconsin.
In 2017, Mayer ran a full slate of U.S. Legend Car Series events, winning the U.S. Legend Car Winter Heat Championship, the Summer Shootout and U.S. Legend Car Asphalt Nationals. Also in 2017, he entered the Late Model ranks and won three times, at South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway and Greenville Pickens Speedway, with 13 top-10 finishes. In November, he finished fifth in the prestigious Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway.
Mayer leveraged his Late Model prowess into a place on national stage when he joined GMS Racing to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, ARCA Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Running the full 2019 schedule in the K&N Pro Series East, Mayer scored four wins, 11 top fives and 11 top 10s en route to a championship that made him the youngest champion in any NASCAR series at the age of 16 years, three months and eight days.
In 2020, Mayer turned even more heads when he drove to his first career NCTS victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in only his sixth series start. Add in a combined 11 wins across all three ARCA Menards Series’ en route to the Sioux Chief Showdown championship and the ARCA Menards Series East championship, and Mayer was poised for a robust return to JRM in 2021. He ran 17 races in the team’s No. 8 Chevrolet, splitting time with teammate Berry in the car.
In 2022, Mayer, in his first full-time season with JRM, added a Dash 4 Cash win to his list of accomplishments at Richmond Raceway in the spring and scored a runner-up finish at Talladega Superspeedway in the fall. In that race, Mayer led off Turn 4 coming to the checkered but lost out on a last-second lunge by eventual winner AJ Allmendinger.
Mayer is the second driver from the JRM Late Model pipeline to return to the organization for NXS competition, joining 2017 NXS champion and current Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron.