XFT: Sam Mayer holds off Riley Herbst for Xfinity win at Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa — In a race of tire management and hurt feelings, Sam Mayer held off Riley Herbst in overtime to win Saturday’s Hy-Vee Perks 250 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ return to Iowa Speedway after a four-year hiatus.

Mayer’s No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet crossed the finish line 0.146 seconds ahead of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Herbst, who felt Mayer had abused him earlier in the race.

The victory was Mayer’s second of the season and the sixth of his career, all coming within the last 29 races in the series.

“We struggled (Friday in practice), and the team went to work,” said Mayer, who started fifth when qualifying was canceled because of rain earlier on Saturday. “Obviously, we did pretty good overnight, making different changes on this race car.

“I feel really good. I could do another 100 laps — with a race car like this, it would be a lot of fun.”

Mayer held the lead when John Hunter Nemechek slammed the outside wall in Turn 4 with his left front tire down, the result of close quarters racing with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sheldon Creed.

That accident on Lap 245 caused the ninth caution of the afternoon and sent the race three laps beyond its scheduled distance.

In the overtime, Mayer and Herbst took the green flag side-by-side and remained in that posture into Turn 1, but Mayer cleared the race runner-up off Turn 2 and held the top spot the rest of the way.

“I like racing Sam, but Stage 1 or 2 he just absolutely brooms me,” Herbst said. “We were racing clean for fourth, and he takes us back to 10th and then doors me down the back straightaway before the green-white-checker.

“It’s just frustrating the way he wants to do that, but all in all, it was fun. I’m happy to be back on ovals. The speed is back in the 98.”

Corey Heim finished a career-best third after starting 22nd because of the qualifying rainout. Sammy Smith was fourth, followed by Creed, who survived the dust-up with Nemechek after a restart on Lap 238.

Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, Chandler Smith, Ross Chastain and Daniel Dye completed the top 10.

If any driver had cause for frustration, it was Chandler Smith, who led a race-high 131 laps and swept the first two stages. Smith restarted third to begin the final stage, but lack of short-run speed quickly dropped him to 12th, and he never recovered.

Austin Hill likewise had reason to bemoan his result. Overcoming early handling issues, Hill charged into the top five in the final stage, but a cut left front tire sent him hard into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 218, causing the seventh caution.

Hill finished 29th and dropped to third in the series standings, 41 points behind Custer, the current leader and defending series champion. Chandler Smith, second in the standings, trails Custer by one point.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race — Hy-Vee Perks 250
Iowa Speedway
Newton, Iowa
Saturday, June 15, 2024

1. (5) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 253.
2. (12) Riley Herbst, Ford, 253.
3. (22) Corey Heim(i), Toyota, 253.
4. (17) Sammy Smith, Chevrolet, 253.
5. (3) Sheldon Creed, Toyota, 253.
6. (7) Cole Custer, Ford, 253.
7. (24) Matt Dibenedetto, Ford, 253.
8. (6) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 253.
9. (28) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 253.
10. (37) Daniel Dye(i), Chevrolet, 253.
11. (10) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 253.
12. (15) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 253.
13. (25) Leland Honeyman #, Chevrolet, 253.
14. (20) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 253.
15. (19) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 253.
16. (36) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 253.
17. (31) David Starr, Chevrolet, 253.
18. (29) Brett Moffitt(i), Toyota, 252.
19. (21) Kyle Sieg, Ford, 252.
20. (27) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 252.
21. (16) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 252.
22. (34) Dawson Cram #, Chevrolet, 22.
23. (32) Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, 252.
24. (30) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 250.
25. (33) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, 250.
26. (35) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 250.
27. (8) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Toyota, Accident, 244.
28. (14) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 218.
29. (1) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, Accident, 217.
30. (4) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 200.
31. (9) Jesse Love #, Chevrolet, Accident, 149.
32. (13) Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, Electrical, 103.
33. (23) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, Accident, 87.
34. (2) Shane Van Gisbergen #, Chevrolet, Accident, 86.
35. (18) Blaine Perkins, Ford, Accident, 86.
36. (26) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, Engine, 38.
37. (11) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Accident, 32.
38. (38) Glen Reen, Chevrolet, Carburetor, 20.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 84.899 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 36 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.146 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 71 laps.
Lead Changes: 13 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Hill 0;J. Allgaier 1-14;C. Smith 15-37;J. Nemechek(i) 38-41;J. Clements 42-48;C. Smith 49-156;J. Williams 157-160;R. Sieg 161-168;S. Mayer 169-206;J. Nemechek(i) 207-237;R. Herbst 238-243;S. Mayer 244-250;R. Herbst 251;S. Mayer 252-253.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Chandler Smith 2 times for 131 laps; Sam Mayer 3 times for 47 laps; John Hunter Nemechek(i) 2 times for 35 laps; Justin Allgaier 1 time for 14 laps; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 8 laps; Jeremy Clements 1 time for 7 laps; Riley Herbst 2 times for 7 laps; Josh Williams 1 time for 4 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 81,18,1,7,8,00,19,26,20,2
Stage #2 Top Ten: 81,1,92,26,8,18,7,98,00,21

–By NASCAR NewsWire, Special to Field Level Media

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