On an evening where it appeared that seasoned veterans would have the upper hand, JR Motorsports development driver Sam Mayer managed to outrun many of the best CARS Response Energy Tour LMSC drivers, including his teammate Josh Berry, to pick up his first career victory in the Solid Rock Carriers 123 at Wake County Speedway on Saturday evening.

“This is a huge burden off my shoulders,” Mayer said. “It just feels so good, and it’s so exciting out here. Victory lane is something that I’ve never done before. I had to learn a little bit there, but the JR Motorsports guys put together a great car for me. Having no practice, and being blind out here, it’s amazing how great these guys are.”

The racing weekend for Mayer did not even start at Wake County, as he competed in the Monaco Gateway Classic for MDM Motorsports at Gateway Motorsports Park, where he brought his #12 Menards Toyota home with an 11th place finish. After the race concluded, Mayer hopped on a plane and made the long flight to Raleigh, North Carolina to participate in the Solid Rock Carriers 123, where he was already a day behind most of his competition.

Once Mayer swapped out his Toyota for a Chevrolet Late Model, he began to make quiet, but consistent lap times in the two Saturday practice sessions, as he posted Top 10 speeds and ultimately settled for a 10th place starting spot. The pole would belong to Late Model veteran at Deac McCaskill, who competed in races at Wake County early in his career, and looked to pick up his second win of the season.

When the green flag dropped, McCaskill was able to successfully clear Bobby McCarty to secure the lead of the race, but it would only take 20 laps for the CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour points leader to work his way around McCaskill and take control of the race. McCarty would hold the lead for over 50 laps before a competition caution was displayed on Lap 73, which gave the field an opportunity to battle McCarty for the lead.

As McCarty asserted his authority over his competition, Mayer began to work his way up to the front, as he began picking off drivers one by one to work his way up to third place before the competition caution came out. On the Lap 73 restart, Mayer managed to get a strong run on the high side of the track, which allowed him to pull ahead of McCarty and take the lead of the race, while McCaskill passed McCarty for second.

After an accident between Cody Haskins and Dylon Wilson brought out another caution, Mayer was forced to hold off McCaskill on the next restart, but was eventually able to pull away from the field after briefly losing the lead. As Mayer extended his lead, his teammate Josh Berry worked himself into second place after starting from the rear of the field, with another caution setting up a two-lap shootout between the JR Motorsports duo.

Mayer and Berry were dead even when the green flag was displayed, but Lee Pulliam disrupted the battle after he got into the back of Mayer, which sent Berry up the track. Mayer was able to hold onto the lead despite heavy pressure from Pulliam, and took the checkered flag first in front of the four-time Whelen All-American Series champion, while Berry ended up in fifth after losing a closely contested battle to McCaskill.

Mayer was able to pick up his first victory by being aggressive throughout the field, as opposed to drivers like Berry and Pulliam who saved their tires in the early stages of the race in order to be in contention at the end. Mayer admitted that he abused his tires working his way to the front, but was proud to finally put his car into victory lane, and extended his gratitude to his team and the CARS Response Energy Tour.

“Early on, we had to really go and pick up that track position,” Mayer said. “It’s so hard to pass here, and it’s really tight. Even with the lapped cars, it is so hard to get under them, but honestly the CARS Tour does such a great job with everything. They are the best series out here, and the competition is awesome, as I got to outrun people like Berry and Pulliam. It’s such a great feeling.”

Pulliam was able to come home in the second position, while Layne Riggs quietly finished in the third position. The Wake County regulars had mixed success throughout the evening, with the top finisher of the group being current Wake County Late Model points standings leader Eric Winslow, who finished in 10th one lap down.

Solid Rock Carriers 123 Results:

1. 9 Sam Mayer
2. 5 Lee Pulliam
3. 99 Layne Riggs
4. 22 Deac McCaskill
5. 88 Josh Berry
6. 07 Bradley McCaskill
7. 22m Bobby McCarty
8. 2p Brandon Pierce
9. 74 Ronald Hill -1
10. 22w Eric Winslow -1
11. 18 Ty Gibbs -1
12. 9w Charlie Watson -2
13. 44 Thomas Beane -2
14. 47 Alex Fleming OUT
15. 43p Sammy Pacitti OUT
16. 17 Zachary Marks -9
17. 2 Cody Haskins OUT
18. 4 Dylon Wilson OUT
19. 1m Mike Chambers OUT
20. 2r Randy Renfrow OUT