The opening round of the NASCAR Truck Series playoffs began on Thursday night from the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. While 10 drivers began then march for the 2020 championship, was a part time driver that stole the headlines.
In just his seventh career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race, Sam Mayer went to Victory Lane.
Did I mention he’s only 17 years old?
Mayer passed NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff contender and GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt with 29 laps to go in Thursday night’s UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics to win his first career Truck Series victory.
Mayer finished 4.413 seconds ahead of Moffitt, Tanner Gray, Parker Kligerman and Trevor Bayne completed the top-five
Bayne, failed post race inspection, which propelled Chandler Smith up to fifth.
“What? Oh my gosh, Bristol dude. I love this place,” Mayer said. “This is win No. 3 for me here and man, I don’t know what to say. I can’t thank the guys back at the shop enough.
“They work their tails off. We fired off so good. We only made like one trackbar adjustment all day, that’s it. That feels so good.”
Asked if he thought he was capable of winning so soon, Mayer said, “Not really. I knew the team was. I knew everyone that was a part of his No. 24 team. I knew they could do it. I just had to come here and perform.
“That last pit stop put us in a perfect place, and we were able to drive right by all of them. That’s such a good feeling!”
Moffitt finishes second for his third top two result in four Bristol starts. This was also his seventh straight top 10 finish on the season and fifth top four in his last six tries overall. He dominated Stage 1 at Bristol, finishing 2.7-seconds ahead of GMS Racing teammate Tyler Ankrum.
Gray, ties a career best finish of third in his No. 15 Ford while Kligerman’s fourth place run was his second in three years in his No. 75 Chevrolet and fifth top 10 in seven Bristol tries in the Truck Series.
Moffitt is the current Truck Series Playoff leader with a 36-point cushion over the cutoff position in eighth. He was the lone playoff driver to finish in the top six. Grant Enfinger was second best in seventh while Tyler Ankrum was the only other playoff driver in the top 10.
Sheldon Creed is second (+28), Zane Smith (+25), Enfinger (+24) and Ankrum (+19) rounds out the top-five.
Matt Crafton is sixth (+13), Ben Rhodes seventh (+6) and Austin Hill (+2) in eighth.
Heading to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway on Fri., Sept. 25, Christian Eckes is two points behind Hill in ninth and Todd Gilliland rounds out the top-10 Playoff drivers with an eight-point deficit to Hill.
Playoff drivers Gilliland and Hill found themselves 17th and 28th respectively by the end of Stage 1 and both a lap down to Moffitt. Hill and Stewart Friesen made contact early in the race damaging the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra.
There was one caution before the end
Mayer scored two victories at Bristol on Thursday night, as he also won in the ARCA Menards Series Bush’s Beans 250, also in a GMS Racing entry too for a clean sweep of the night.
The race was delayed a but due to Mother Nature, but lasted only 1-hour and 17 minutes in length.
A week after ThorSport went 1-2-3, GMS goes 1-2 and swept both stages too. They went 1-2-3-4 in Stage 1, 1-3-4-5 in Stage 2, then 1-2-8 in the end.