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HomeSportsAuto RacingXFT News: Sam Mayer beats Ryan Sieg in split-second finish at Texas

XFT News: Sam Mayer beats Ryan Sieg in split-second finish at Texas

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FORT WORTH, Texas — In one of the closest finishes in NASCAR Xfinity Series history, Sam Mayer pulled off a last lap pass of veteran Ryan Sieg to claim his first victory of the season Saturday in the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The margin of victory was .002 seconds as Mayer’s No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and Sieg’s No. 39 Ryan Sieg Racing Ford crossed the finish line door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper. The cars were so close, officials took a brief extra look to formally declare Mayer the winner.

The slim margin tied for the second-closest finish in the series, joining outcomes at the Milwaukee Mile in 1996 and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 1999.

It was Mayer’s first win of the year and fifth of his career. It would have been Sieg’s first win in 342 career starts in the series.

“That’s absolutely unreal,” said Mayer, 20, shaking his head after climbing out of his car. “This team, the amount of adversity we’ve had to fight this entire year so far and to come to a mile-and-a-half that I want to say I’m good at, but it took a lot.

“It took every ounce of me for me to do that today.”

Sieg led 17 of the final 18 laps and raced off to the front on a pair of late-race restarts in the closing 20 laps of the 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile Texas high banks. With nine laps remaining, Sieg held a 1.2-second advantage over Mayer.

But Mayer cut into that margin with each lap, trailing by only .25 seconds with two laps remaining and then catching Sieg’s car on the back stretch on the final lap. They exchanged the lead briefly, racing door-to-door, and then Sieg pulled alongside as they took the checkered flag in a photo finish — the closest ever for an Xfinity Series race at Texas.

“Awe, it sucks,” said Sieg, who has two other career runner-up finishes. “We had a really good car. I just got tight, so tried to change my lines, do everything. I saw him coming and I did all I could do, and at the end I was just trying to run him up into the wall to try to win the race. We were so close. This sucks.

“I’ve been second before. Too many times. But this is a good thing, means we’re running where we need to be in the top five.

“Just got to keep fighting, we’re right there, just got to keep it up,” he added. “We’ll have it in Victory Lane here shortly.”

All the late-race drama came at the expense of veteran Justin Allgaier, who led a race-best 117 laps and swept both stage victories, but ultimately finished third in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. A year ago, Allgaier led a dominating 133 of the 200 laps only to finish fifth.

A.J. Allmendinger finished fourth in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet — a huge rally for the perennial championship contender. He had missed his pit stall during the Stage 1 caution, which put him back in the field and forced him to race through the field — again.

Xfinity Series reigning champion Cole Custer, who started from outside the front row, was a top-five car all day and finished fifth in the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Custer now trails championship leader Chandler Smith — who finished 15th — by 19 points in the standings.

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill, a two-race winner, finished sixth, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ryan Truex, JR Motorsports Sammy Smith, polesitter Jesse Love of RCR and Anthony Alfredo, who earned his third top-10 of the season in the Our Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet.

With the win, Mayer not only course-corrects a rough start to the 2024 season — he suffered DNFs in three of the first four races — but he earns the coveted $100,000 prize from Xfinity as the Dash 4 Cash-winning driver.

He’ll compete against Sieg, Allgaier and Allmendinger for the big Dash 4 Cash check again next week at Talladega Superspeedway.

It was a rally not just for this driver but for his JR Motorsports team. The perennial championship favorite has struggled early in the 2024 season — its four talented drivers not earning a top-five until last week at Martinsville. On Saturday, not only did the team — co-owned by Kelley Earnhardt Miller and her brother Dale Earnhardt Jr. — win the race, but all four cars finished in the top 13 and three of the four drivers (also Brandon Jones) led laps.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Talladega, where it will race in the Ag-Pro 300 (4 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Jeb Burton is the defending race winner.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race — Andy’s Frozen Custard 300
Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas

1. (10) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 200.
2. (14) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 200.
3. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.
4. (8) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 200.
5. (2) Cole Custer, Ford, 200.
6. (13) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 200.
7. (7) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 200.
8. (9) Sammy Smith, Chevrolet, 200.
9. (1) Jesse Love #, Chevrolet, 200.
10. (12) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 200.
11. (3) Taylor Gray(i), Toyota, 200.
12. (22) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 200.
13. (11) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 200.
14. (23) Kyle Sieg, Ford, 200.
15. (4) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 200.
16. (18) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 200.
17. (17) Corey Heim(i), Toyota, 200.
18. (33) Shane Van Gisbergen #, Chevrolet, 200.
19. (15) Sheldon Creed, Toyota, 200.
20. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 200.
21. (25) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 200.
22. (29) Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, 200.
23. (20) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, 200.
24. (24) Daniel Dye(i), Chevrolet, 200.
25. (16) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 200.
26. (36) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 199.
27. (5) Riley Herbst, Ford, 199.
28. (38) David Starr, Ford, 198.
29. (28) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 198.
30. (37) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 198.
31. (31) Leland Honeyman #, Chevrolet, 198.
32. (21) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 197.
33. (30) Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, 197.
34. (32) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 197.
35. (26) Blaine Perkins, Ford, 197.
36. (19) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, Accident, 191.
37. (34) Dawson Cram #, Chevrolet, 191.
38. (35) Chad Finchum, Ford, Suspension, 127.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 125.977 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 22 Mins, 53 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.002 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 35 laps.
Lead Changes: 16 among 10 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Love # 1;C. Smith 2-27;J. Allgaier 28-48;B. Jones 49;J. Allgaier 50-80;C. Custer 81;J. Allgaier 82-142;S. Mayer 143;S. Creed 144-145;A. Hill 146-170;J. Allgaier 171-174;S. Mayer 175;P. Kligerman 176-179;B. Jones 180;S. Mayer 181-182;R. Sieg 183-199;S. Mayer 200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Justin Allgaier 4 times for 117 laps; Chandler Smith 1 time for 26 laps; Austin Hill 1 time for 25 laps; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 17 laps; Sam Mayer 4 times for 5 laps; Parker Kligerman 1 time for 4 laps; Sheldon Creed 1 time for 2 laps; Brandon Jones 2 times for 2 laps; Cole Custer 1 time for 1 lap; Jesse Love # 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 7,81,98,9,00,20,21,39,16,48
Stage #2 Top Ten: 7,00,98,9,39,8,21,2,16,1

–By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

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