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Sam Mayer to make Xfinity debut in 2021 with JR Motorsports

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Sam Mayer will drive for JR Motorsports in the second half of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series before moving to a full-time role in 2022, the team announced Tuesday.

The 17-year-old Mayer is running select Truck and ARCA races this season, winning four ARCA races. He drove for the JR Motorsports Late Model team in 2018-19. Mayer also drove for GMS Racing in 2019 and won the K&N Pro Series East title that season.

“Having the opportunity to return to JR Motorsports after racing late models with them in 2018 is definitely very special to me,” Mayer said in a statement. “Being able to share this news makes me very excited for the coming year. I hope I can learn as much as I can in the second half of next season and to be ready to go race fulltime for the NXS championship in 2022.”

The team did not release details on what car number Mayer will drive in the second half of the 2021 season. He turns 18 on June 26, 2021, allowing him to compete on every Xfinity Series track then.

Justin Allgaier wins Friday Richmond Xfinity race

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Justin Allgaier passed Justin Haley for the lead with 29 laps to go and went on to win Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway.

The series is back on track Saturday to complete its doubleheader weekend. Saturday’s race begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

MORE: Race results 

Allgaier lost the lead to Haley on Lap 174 of 250 and began to pull away. He rallied and got by Haley on Lap 222. Allgaier went on to win his second race of the season.

“We’re just hitting our stride at the right time of the season,” Allgaier said.

Haley finished second. He was followed by Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain.

“I thought maybe a few more laps I could have gotten to him because he was really sideways toward the end,” Haley said of Allgaier. “Honestly, he just timed it perfectly. Lapped traffic was not ideal. The whole time I thought we were faster didn’t quite play our cards right.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Michael Annett secured a playoff spot via points with his seventh-place finish. … Austin Cindric, who finished fourth, has finished in the top five in four of his five Richmond starts. … Brett Moffitt finished sixth. It is his seventh top-10 finish of the season. He had six last year. … Tommy Joe Martins finished 15th and will start on the pole for Saturday’s race with the top 15 finishers from Friday’s race inverted.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Myatt Snider was in a crash early and finished 36th in the 37-car field. … Harrison Burton‘s 16th-place finish is his worst in the Xfinity Series on a short track. “That’s pretty embarrassing,” Burton said on NBCSN after the race.

PENALTIES: NASCAR disqualified the car of Chad Finchum after it failed rear heights. Finchum finished 27th. He will be credited with a last-place finish. … NASCAR also ejected the car chief of the No. 13 car driven by Stephen Leicht, who finished 34th. The team was penalized for any loss or separation of an improperly installed rear axle from the vehicle.

NOTABLE: Justin Allgaier’s win is the 50th in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports. Fifteen drivers have accounted for those 50 victories.

NEXT: The series is back on the track Saturday to complete its Richmond doubleheader. The series races at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Brandon Jones scores Xfinity win after leaders tangle

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Brandon Jones took the lead coming to the white flag when Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain made contact while racing for the lead and won Saturday’s Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway.

“Darn it,” Chastain said on his team’s radio after finishing second.

Ryan Sieg placed third and was followed by Riley Herbst and Hamlin.

MORE: Race results 

The late-race drama came a week after Chastain made contact with teammate AJ Allmendinger while racing for the lead on the last lap at Daytona. Justin Haley won that race.

Hamlin made his move in Turn 3 and got around Chastain but came up and hit the wall. He slowed so much that Chastain ran into the back of Hamlin’s car, allowing Jones to get by.

“I thought I could clear him and get slowed up in time before I got to the wall,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “I saw an opportunity to clear. Once I did, I carried a little too much speed into (Turn) 3.”

Chastain told NBCSN: “Denny was faster. I knew that. I just kept ripping the top. I was really struggling on entry. … To be able to go up against a guy like Denny Hamlin, a future champion … I’m just proud of this group. I just needed to make the crossover sooner into (Turn) 3 there.”

Chastain said he and Hamlin “were able to fist bump after” the race.

Despite not winning, Chastain clinched a playoff spot. Eight of the 12 playoff spots have been clinched. Three races remain in the regular season.

Jones only led the final two laps.

The victory is his fourth of his Xfinity career and third of the season. All four of Jones’ wins have come in his last 27 starts.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

STAGE 2 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ryan Sieg’s third-place finish matched his best finish of the season and did so after his car was damaged in a multi-car crash on Lap 2. “I thought our day was over,” Sieg said of his feelings after the crash. … Riley Herbst’s fourth-place finish was his fifth consecutive top-10 result. Austin Hill placed ninth to tie his career-best finish in the series. … Brandon Brown was involved in that Lap 2 crash and came back to finish 17th and maintain his hold on the final playoff spot.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished last after he was collected in a multi-car crash that brought out the caution on Lap 3. It is his seventh finish of 28th or worse in 16 starts this year for JR Motorsports. … Justin Allgaier had mechanical issues and finished several laps down.

NEXT: The series goes to Richmond Raceway for a doubleheader weekend. The series races at 7 p.m. ET on Friday,  Sept. 11 and at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 12. Both races will be on NBCSN.

Content Justin Allgaier seeks first Daytona win

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When Justin Allgaier shows up at Daytona International Speedway for tonight’s Xfinity Series race, he won’t be the same person seen there two weeks ago.

Following the Aug. 15 race on the Daytona road course, Allgaier was not a happy man.

After finishing ninth, Allgaier stalked down pit road and “unloaded” verbally on AJ Allmendinger. The JR Motorsports driver was furious after contact with Allmendinger spun his No. 7 Chevrolet while running in third with three laps left.

The spin wasn’t the root cause of Allgaier’s eruption, it was simply the final straw for the 34-year-old driver who had just one win since September 2018 and who had led 538 laps in 2020 without a victory.

It even caused Allgaier to tell his wife, Ashley, at some point last week “I’m ready to not be a race car driver anymore” for roughly the 10th time in six months.

But that moment passed.

“I had let things just get to me and I was frustrated with the circumstances,” Allgaier told NBC Sports. “And I let things fester and I’m not good at getting things off my chest, right? Keep them bottled up inside. And so when I unloaded at Daytona, what’s interesting about that is that it actually freed me up mentally to really enjoy what I was doing. And it put me in a better frame of mind. And I actually spent all week in a better frame of mind because of that. And that might be the best part of what happened (at Daytona) is that it actually put in a better space for me to be able to be in a just better headspace when I went into Dover.”

In fact, when he led 120 of 200 laps and won Saturday’s Dover race, he was in a “better mental state … than I probably have been in the last three or four years.”

Justin Allgaier Dover
Justin Allgaier celebrates his win Saturday at Dover. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

That positive state is following Allgaier into tonight’s Daytona race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

“I’m much happier going into Daytona now, knowing that we have a win,” said Allgaier, who will start fifth. “That makes life a lot easier. And I’m able to go into a race and feel like I have a good opportunity to go do the things that I need to go do and and to race the way that I need to. … To be perfectly honest, I’m excited about it.

“I don’t typically feel like I’m excited when it comes to superspeedway racing. I wouldn’t say that’s one of my favorite things in the world to do. So having the situation that I’m in now and being where I’m at, I actually feel like I’m better mentally going into Daytona than I’ve ever been. So I’m actually excited about it for once.”

And despite 12 career Xfinity wins – and that eight different JR Motorsports drivers have won at Talladega or Daytona – it will be Allgaier’s 30th attempt at a Xfinity victory on a superspeedway.

Allgaier has three top-five finishes at Talladega and four at Daytona.

Though Allgaier still contends he won the July 2016 Xfinity race at Daytona and not Aric Almirola (“depending on what camera view you look at”), it doesn’t bother him that the records books show he’s winless at superspeedways.

“I believe in my mind that every driver has (their) strengths and weaknesses and we’ve obviously got great cars,” Allgaier said. “There’s no questioning the equipment that we have at JR Motorsports and it’s not for lack of equipment that’s kept me from going to victory lane. But in my mind, I don’t believe that (superspeedways have) ever really been my strength. …

“But if we just go and do our job and we come out of there with a solid day for me that’s all I need do to be happy with it. Like don’t get me wrong. I want to go to victory lane. It’s not that I don’t want to go to victory lane. I just feel like there’s there’s a lot of factors that play into it that that don’t necessarily line up with how we finished a lot of times.”

Allgaier explained that Xfinity superspeedway races are unique compared to the Cup Series, where he made eight superspeedway starts.

“It’s just different,” Allgaier said. “There’s different drivers on a regular basis. It’s not like you have the same group of guys all the time. You’ve got different experience levels. There’s just a lot that goes into it. It doesn’t necessarily add up to where you think it would.

“I think that’s what’s probably the most interesting part of it is just managing that and managing other drivers around you and finding a happy spot.”

Allgaier hopes that happy spot lands him in victory lane again.

Entry lists for Dover races

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Dover International Speedway will be packed with racing this weekend, holding one Truck race, two Xfinity races and two Cup races.

In Cup, only three races remain in the regular season before the 16-driver playoff field is set.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for Dover 

Cup – Drydene 311 (4 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Cup – Drydene 311 (4 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Forty cars are entered for both races this weekend.

Josh Bilicki is entered in the No. 53 car of Rick Ware Racing for either race. The 40 drivers listed for Saturday’s race also are listed for Sunday’s race.

Click here for Saturday Cup race entry list 

Click here for Sunday Cup race entry list

 

Xfinity – Drydene 200 (12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Xfinity – Drydene 200 (1 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-six cars are entered for both races.

Daniel Hemric will drive the No. 8 for JR Motorsports on Saturday. Jeb Burton will drive the car in Sunday’s race. There are no other driver changes in the entry lists for Dover from Saturday to Sunday.

David Starr is listed for both races in the No. 07 car for SS Green Light Racing.

Click here for Saturday Xfinity race entry list

Click here for Sunday Xfinity race entry list

 

Truck – KDI Office Technology 200 (5 ET Friday on FS1)

Thirty-five trucks are entered for this race.

Click here for Truck entry list