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Mayer survives overtime shootout for dramatic Xfinity victory at Iowa

Sam Mayer preserved his tires to the very end and fended off a late challenge from Riley Herbst during an overtime shootout to win the Hy-Vee PERKS 250 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 15.

The 20-year-old Mayer from Franklin, Wisconsin, led three times for 47 of 253 over-scheduled laps in an event where he started fifth and ran up front for the majority of the event. Amid a series of on-track carnages that knocked a multitude of front runners out of contention due to tire explosions, Mayer, who nearly wrecked at the start of the second stage period on Lap 82 but led for the first time on Lap 169, made the event’s final pass for the lead on Herbst with seven laps remaining. Then amid an overtime shootout, Mayer managed to fend off Herbst for two laps to score his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the 2024 season and cap off an eventful afternoon of competition in Iowa Speedway’s return to hosting Xfinity events.

With on-track qualifying that was scheduled to occur on Saturday canceled due to inclement weather, the starting lineup for the main event was determined through a performance metric system from the NASCAR Rule Book. As a result, Austin Hill was awarded the pole position.

Rookie Shane van Gisbergen, winner of last weekend’s Xfinity event at Sonoma Raceway, was scheduled to start alongside Hill on the front row but he dropped to the rear of the field in a backup car after he wrecked his primary car during Friday’s practice session. Patrick Emerling also dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to his respective entry.

When the green flag waved and the race started, Austin Hill muscled ahead with a brief advantage through the frontstretch until Justin Allgaier, who was scheduled to start in fourth place but moved up to start alongside Hill on the front row in second place, used the outside lane to his advantage as he rocketed his No. 7 BRANDT/Precision Build Chevrolet Camaro into the lead through the first two turns. Sheldon Creed then tried to battle Hill for the runner-up spot through the backstretch, but he slipped up the track while making light contact with Hill’s No. 21 Bennett Transportation Chevrolet Camaro. The contact cause Creed to slip into a side-by-side battle with Sam Mayer for third place as Hill retained second while Allgaier proceeded to lead the first lap.

During the proceeding four laps, Creed retained third place while teammate Chandler Smith moved his No. 81 Mobil 1 Toyota Supra into fourth place over Mayer. Amid a flurry of battles ensuing within the middle of the pack, Brennan Poole got loose off the front nose of Sammy Smith and nearly slipped up the track and into the path of Jeremy Clements in Turn 3, but all kept their respective entries running straight. Amid the tight side-by-side battles as the competitors in the mid-pack region fanned out to multiple lanes, Allgaier retained the lead by nearly half a second over Hill as Chandler Smith, Creed and Mayer were running in the top five.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Allgaier was leading by three-tenths of a second over Hill followed by Chandler Smith, Creed and John Hunter Nemechek while Mayer, Cole Custer, rookie Jesse Love, Riley Herbst and Corey Heim trailed in the top 10. Behind, Parker Kligerman followed suit in 11th place ahead of AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Sieg, Sammy Smith and Parker Retzlaff while Anthony Alfredo, Brandon Jones, Matt DiBenedetto, Brett Moffitt and Ross Chastain were in the top 20 ahead of Jeb Burton, Kyle Sieg, Brennan Poole, Leland Honeyman and Jeremy Clements. Meanwhile, Shane van Gisbergen was up to 33rd place while teammates Josh Williams and Daniel Dye were mired in 28th and 29th, respectively.

Five laps later, Chandler Smith overtook Allgaier to assume the lead. Smith would stretch his advantage to a second over Allgaier by the Lap 20 mark as Nemechek and Creed were up to third and fourth, respectively. Meanwhile, Hill, who was battling loose conditions, dropped to fifth while Mayer, Custer, Love, Herbst and Allmendinger followed suit in the top 10.

At the Lap 30 mark, Chandler Smith stabilized his advantage to more than a second over teammate Nemechek while third-place Creed, another Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, trailed by four seconds. In the midst of the three Joe Gibbs Racing competitors running first through third on the track, Allgaier trailed in fourth place by six seconds while Hill retained fifth. Allgaier and Hill would then battle for fourth place as Mayer, Custer, Herbst, Love and Allmendinger were in the top 10. By then, van Gisbergen was lapped by the leaders.

Three laps later, the event’s first caution period flew after Allmendinger, who was running 10th, blew a right-front tire and veered dead straight into the Turn 4 outside wall at full speed before he parked his damaged No. 16 Cirkul Chevrolet Camaro on the frontstretch’s grass and retired from the event. During the event’s first caution period, nearly the entire field led by Chandler Smith pitted while the rest led by teammate Nemechek and including Jeremy Clements and Ryan Ellis remained on the track. Shortly after the pit stops, Brandon Jones nursed his No. 9 Menards Chevrolet Camaro back to pit road as smoke was seen billowing out of his car with the driver battling oil pressure issues that would send the Georgian to the garage.

When the event restarted under green on Lap 42, Nemechek gained a brief advantage from the outside lane through the frontstretch, but he then went wide in Turn 1, which allowed Jeremy Clements to move his No. 51 Whitetail Smokeless Chevrolet Camaro into the lead from the inside lane. Clements would retain the lead through Lap 48 before Chandler Smith reassumed the lead. Smith would be followed by teammates Creed and Nemechek along with Mayer by the Lap 50 mark while Clements dropped to fifth ahead of Hill.

By Lap 60, Chandler Smith extended his advantage to more than a second over teammate Creed as Mayer, Nemechek and Custer trailed in the top five. Behind, Allgaier was up to sixth place and Clements dropped to seventh place, with Sammy Smith, Herbst and Moffitt following suit in the top 10 ahead of Love, Hill, Heim, Chastain and Ryan Sieg.

Nearing the Lap 70 mark, Chandler Smith continued to extend his advantage as he was leading by nearly three seconds over teammate Creed while JR Motorsports’ Mayer, Allgaier and Sammy Smith were up in the top five. Meanwhile, Nemechek dropped to ninth as he trailed Custer, teammate Moffitt and Heim on the track as Love occupied 10th place.

Two laps later, the event’s second caution period flew after Jeb Burton, who was running 14th, blew a right-front tire and scrubbed the outside wall through Turns 1 and 2. Burton’s incident was enough for the first stage period scheduled to conclude on Lap 75 to officially conclude under caution as Chandler Smith claimed his fourth Xfinity stage victory of the 2024 season. Teammate Creed followed suit in second ahead of Mayer, Allgaier and Sammy Smith while Custer, Moffitt, Heim, Nemechek and Love were scored in the top 10.

Under the stage break, the entire lead lap field led by Chandler Smith pitted for service. Following the pit stops, Chandler Smith retained the lead after exiting first followed by teammate Creed, Custer, Sammy Smith, Mayer and Moffitt.

The second stage period started on Lap 82 as teammates Chandler Smith and Creed occupied the front row. At the start, both Joe Gibbs Racing teammates dueled for the lead until Smith muscled ahead from the outside lane while Creed got loose on the inside lane. Creed was then placed in a tight four-wide battle against Herbst, Mayer and Moffitt for fourth place through the backstretch while Custer and Sammy Smith grabbed second and third, respectively, through the backstretch.

Mayer then slid sideways after getting hit by Moffitt through Turns 3 and 4, but he kept his car running straight as the oncoming field behind scattered and fanned out to avoid hitting him. Amid the war of attrition in the middle of the pack, Chandler Smith proceeded to lead Custer by a tenth of a second by the Lap 85 mark while third-place Sammy Smith trailed by four-tenths of a second in third.

On Lap 87, the caution returned after van Gisbergen, who was mired in the top 25, got loose entering the backstretch and slipped up the track and into Blaine Perkins, which resulted in Perkins slapping the outside wall as van Gisbergen slid down the track and was hit hard by Kyle Weatherman, which took all three out of contention and spoiled van Gisbergen’s hopes of winning three consecutive Xfinity races.

As the event restarted under green on Lap 96, the two Smiths, Chandler and Sammy, battled for the lead, with the former edging ahead for nearly a lap from the outside lane until Sammy mounted the pressure on Chandler for the top spot after the latter slipped up the track. With the battle for the lead intensifying during the following lap, Chandler Smith would muscle ahead followed by Custer while Sammy Smith slipped to third. Behind, Chastain and Moffitt carved their way up to fourth and fifth, respectively, while Love trailed in sixth as Chandler Smith was leading by two-tenths of a second by the Lap 100 mark.

Fifteen laps later, Chandler Smith was leading by more than a second over Custer followed by Sammy Smith, Moffitt and Love while Chastain, Nemechek, Herbst, Allgaier and Mayer were in the top 10. Behind, Heim trailed in 11th place ahead of Creed, Kligerman, Ryan Sieg and Hill while Ryan Ellis, Leland Honeyman, Daniel Dye, Brennan Poole and Clements were scored in the top 20.

Then on Lap 123 and with a multitude of competitors battling for car control on the track’s paved surface, the caution flew after Patrick Emerling spun in Turn 1. During the caution period, some including Moffitt, Hill, Josh Williams, Ryan Sieg, Kligerman, Clements, Dawson Cram and Joey Gase pitted while the rest led by Chandler Smith remained on the track.

With the event restarting under green on Lap 132, Chandler Smith muscled ahead of Custer to retain the lead as Custer slipped through the first two turns. Custer’s misfortune cost him three spots as Sammy Smith, Chastain and Allgaier all moved up the leaderboard. Soon after, Allgaier and Custer made contact, but they continued to race in the top 10 as the field fanned out. Amid the battles in the middle of the pack, the battle for the lead between the two Smiths, Chandler and Sammy, began to intensify as the latter challenged the former for the top spot. Chastain and Mayer would close in to make the battle for the lead a four-car battle while Chandler Smith retained the top spot.

Just past the Lap 140 mark, Chandler Smith continued to lead by three-tenths of a second over Sammy Smith as Mayer, Chastain and Creed followed suit within a second in the top five. Behind, Heim was up to sixth place while Allgaier, Herbst, Love and Custer trailed in the top 10 ahead of Hill, DiBenedetto, Nemechek, Daniel Dye and Moffitt.

Then on the final lap of the second stage period, the caution flew due to 14th-place runner Love cutting a right-front tire and going dead straight into the outside wall in between Turns 3 and 4 as his event came a late end. The drama for Love would continue as his damaged No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro went up in flames while being towed back to the garage.

Love’s incident was enough for the second stage period scheduled to conclude on Lap 150 to officially conclude under caution as Chandler Smith captured his fifth Xfinity stage victory of the 2024 season and second of the day. Mayer muscled his way up to second place as he was followed by Chastain, Heim and Sammy Smith while Creed, Allgaier, Herbst, Custer and Hill were scored in the top 10.

During the stage break, nearly the entire lead lap field led by Chandler Smith returned to pit road for service while Josh Williams remained on the track, with the latter assuming the lead. Amid the pit stops, Ryan Sieg exited pit road second after he opted for a full tank of fuel to his entry.

With 90 laps remaining, the final stage commenced as Williams and Ryan Sieg occupied the front row. At the start, Chandler Smith tried to force his way in between both for the lead, but Sieg muscled ahead with the lead. In addition, Mayer overtook both to assume the runner-up while Chandler Smith slipped. This resulted with Smith dropping out of race-winning contention and out of the top 10 on the track while Sieg was leading ahead of Mayer and a bevy of battles ensuing behind them.

With 80 laps remaining, Mayer, who overtook Ryan Sieg for the lead two laps earlier, was leading by six-tenths of a second over Creed followed by Ryan Sieg, Custer and Moffitt while Nemechek, Heim, Hill, Williams and Sammy Smith were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Chandler Smith was still mired in 12th.

Ten laps later, Mayer stabilized his advantage to half a second over Creed as Custer, Nemechek and Moffitt trailed in the top five. Behind, Chandler Smith retained 12th place as he was racing in between Allgaier and Chastain while Heim, Hill, Ryan Sieg, Sammy Smith and Williams were mired in the top 10.

Another 10 laps later, Mayer slightly extended his advantage to nine-tenths of a second over Creed as Custer, Nemechek and Heim followed suit in the top five. Meanwhile, Ryan Sieg and Moffitt, both of whom pitted under green a few laps earlier, were mired back in 25th and 27th, respectively.

With 50 laps remaining, Mayer stabilized his advantage to a second over Creed as Nemechek moved up to third place ahead of Custer and Heim. By then, Williams and Matt DiBenedetto had pitted under green. Another lap later, the caution flew after Allgaier blew a right-front tire and went dead straight into the outside wall entering Turn 4 as his strong run came to a late end.

During the caution period, the lead lap field led by Mayer pitted for service. Following the pit stops, Nemechek emerged with the lead after he exited first while teammate Creed, Mayer, Custer, Hill and Chandler Smith followed suit in the top six.

As the event restarted with 40 laps remaining, Nemechek muscled ahead with the lead from the outside lane followed by teammate Creed while Hill put the bumper to Mayer and moved Mayer in the middle of a three-wide battle as Hill tried to march his way back to the front. Then as Kligerman went wide and nearly hit the outside wall in between Turns 3 and 4, the battle for the lead intensified between teammates Nemechek and Creed as they dueled in front of Custer through the frontstretch. Creed then briefly wiggled in Turn 1, which allowed Nemechek to muscle back ahead as Custer and Hill overtook Creed for second and third on the track.

Then with 33 laps remaining, Hill’s chances of contending for the victory evaporated after a blown left-front tire sent Hill straight into the outside wall in Turn 1. With Hill out of contention, Nemechek had retained the lead while Custer, Creed, Mayer and Chandler Smith were scored in the top five.

Down to the final 26 laps of the event, the event restarted under green. At the start, Nemechek continued to make the outside lane work to his advantage as he muscled away from the field followed by Custer while Mayer, who restarted as the first competitor on the inside lane, settled in third and in front of Creed. Mayer would then overtake Custer for the runner-up spot during the following lap. He would retain the spot over Herbst and Custer over the next four laps before the caution flew as Brennan Poole went up in smoke and dropped fluid around the circuit.

The start of the next restart period with 13 laps remaining featured Nemechek fending off Herbst for nearly a lap before Herbst drew his No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang alongside Nemechek’s No. 20 Daisy Brands Toyota Supra in a late battle for the lead through the frontstretch. Herbst then managed to clear Nemechek and emerge with the lead and with both lanes to his control during the following lap while Creed battled Nemechek for the runner-up spot.

Shortly after, Nemechek and Creed made contact that resulted in Nemechek generating a tire rub and slipping out of the top five. Amid the contact, Mayer made his way into the runner-up spot. Heim, Custer and Chastain moved into the top five while Herbst retained the lead by three-tenths of a second with 10 laps remaining.

Then with seven laps remaining, Mayer drag-raced against Herbst through the backstretch before he assumed the lead in his No. 1 Roto-Rooter Chevrolet Camaro. As Mayer started to pull away from Herbst and Heim with the lead, the caution returned with five laps remaining after Nemechek, who was trying to nurse his car to the finish amid his tire rub and late run-in with teammate Creed, ended up against the outside wall towards Turn 4 with a flat tire. Nemechek’s incident was enough to send the event into overtime.

The start of the first overtime attempt featured Herbst and Mayer battling dead even for the lead approaching the first turn. As Creed got loose and nearly slid into Heim, Mayer managed to rocket ahead of Herbst through the first two turns and lead through the backstretch.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Mayer was leading by two-tenths of a second over Herbst as Heim tried to join the battle. With both Herbst and Heim unable to mount a final lap charge, Mayer was able to nurse his car around the Iowa circuit smoothly for a final time before he cycled back to the frontstretch and claimed the checkered flag by a tenth of a second.

With the victory, Mayer, who ended up with a flat left-rear tire after Herbst gave Mayer a post-race bump into the side to express his displeasure from an earlier on-track contact and proceeded to blow his right-rear tire from his post-race burnout, notched his sixth career win in his 99th Xfinity Series career start, his second of the 2024 season and his first since winning at Texas Motor Speedway in April.

In addition to becoming the fourth multi-race winner of this year’s Xfinity Series season, Mayer became the 15th competitor overall to win an Xfinity event at Iowa in the speedway’s return to hosting NASCAR Xfinity events since the 2019 season. The Wisconsin native also delivered the 10th victory of the season for the Chevrolet nameplate and the third of the season for JR Motorsports.

“We struggled yesterday and this Roto-Rooter team went to work,” Mayer said on USA Network. “Obviously, we did pretty good overnight making good decisions on this race car. Man, I’m out of breath because I was just huffing in a bunch of smoke, but I feel really good. I could do another 100 laps, for sure. With a race car like this, it’d be a lot of fun. We definitely got a little bit tight there at the end of the second stage, so I was a little concern [of the tire wear] there. [Crew chief] Mardy [Lindley] said the tires look all good. We took care of [the car] and we did our job and now, we get to celebrate.”

As Mayer celebrated on the frontstretch, Herbst was left disappointed on pit road and with a small axe to grind towards Mayer after the latter had made contact with the former earlier prior to their late-race battle for the victory. Nonetheless, Herbst was also left pleased with his performance and the resilience being exhibited by Stewart-Haas Racing amid the team’s closure at this season’s conclusion. Currently, Herbst’s racing plans for the 2025 season remains to be determined.

“It was just frustrating,” Herbst said. “It was an up-and-down day, for sure. I felt like we were okay yesterday and we got it better. We worked all night. [The No. 98 team] did a really good job. We worked our day back up through the field, got some track position and then, the guy who won [Mayer], I mean, he just absolutely brooms us into [Turns] 1 and 2, so that was frustrating. Then for him to door me down the straightaway before the green white checkered [restart], I don’t know.

“That was a bit frustrating, but all in all, it was fun to race with them on the green-white checkered. I’m just most proud in that the speed’s back in the No. 98 Monster Energy car. It was really fast today, so I appreciate everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing for sticking together. It’s been a hard last couple of months and it’s gonna be a hard couple months going forward as well with everything that’s going on. Everybody staying together is awesome. Hopefully, we can continue to bring the speed to New Hampshire next week.”

Corey Heim piloted the No. 26 Yahoo! Toyota Supra from Sam Hunt Racing to a career-best third place in his 11th career start in the Xfinity Series while Sammy Smith and Sheldon Creed finished in the top five.

Cole Custer came home in sixth place while Matt DiBenedetto, Chandler Smith, Ross Chastain and Daniel Dye completed the top 10 in the final running order.

There were 13 lead changes for eight different leaders. The race featured nine cautions for 71 laps. In addition, 17 of 38 starters finished on the lead lap.

Following the 15th event of the 2024 Xfinity Series season, Cole Custer leads the regular-season standings by a single point over Chandler Smith while Austin Hill trails by 41 points and Justin Allgaier trails by 44 points.


1. Sam Mayer, 47 laps led

2. Riley Herbst, seven laps led

3. Corey Heim

4. Sammy Smith

5. Sheldon Creed

6. Cole Custer

7. Matt DiBenedetto

8. Chandler Smith, 131 laps led, Stages 1 & 2 winner

9. Ross Chastain

10. Daniel Dye

11. Parker Kligerman

12. Ryan Sieg, eight laps led

13. Leland Honeyman

14. Ryan Ellis

15. Anthony Alfredo

16. Joey Gase

17. David Starr

18. Brett Moffitt, one lap down

19. Kyle Sieg, one lap down

20. Josh Williams, one lap down, four laps led

21. Jeremy Clements, one lap down, seven laps led

22. Dawson Cram, one lap down

23. Patrick Emerling, one lap down

24. Jeb Burton, three laps down

25. Hailie Deegan, three laps down

26. Garrett Smithley, three laps down

27. John Hunter Nemechek – OUT, Accident, 35 laps led

28. Brennan Poole – OUT, Oil Line

29. Austin Hill – OUT, Accident

30. Justin Allgaier – OUT, Accident, 14 laps led

31. Jesse Love – OUT, Accident

32. Parker Retzlaff – OUT, Electrical

33. Kyle Weatherman – OUT, Accident

34. Shane van Gisbergen – OUT, Accident

35. Blaine Perkins – OUT, Accident

36. Brandon Jones – OUT, Engine

37. AJ Allmendinger – OUT, Accident

38. Glen Reen – OUT, Carburetor

Next on the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the series’ annual visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, for the SciAps 200. The event is scheduled to occur next Saturday, June 22, and air at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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