NEWTON, Iowa. — The kid just keeps on impressing.
Sam Mayer earned his second victory of the 2019 season on Friday night at Iowa Speedway, leading all but eight laps from the pole en route to the victory.
“The race before the first break especially was just trying to keep the tires on the car,” he said. “I was really just trying to hit my marks the whole time. The car was rolling and I was starting to get a little bit free, but making those adjustments at Lap 100 really helped the car stay under me and helped me all the way through until the end.”
The win was also the second for GMS Racing (first coming at Bristol) who made their first full-time foray into the K&N Pro Series this year. In both events, the No. 21 car was in its own zip code.
Being a combination event, Mayer was able to earn more points than a typical K&N East event due to the higher car count. With the win, the 16-year-old Franklin, Wisconsin native now leads the East standings by six markers for the first time since May 4 (first South Boston Twin 100).
One of his main competitors for the title, Derek Kraus, encountered what could have been a monumental issue in the first 50-lap stretch. After contact from Max McLaughlin, Kraus was sent spinning in Turn 4, sustaining rear damage.
After starting in the rear (failed post-qualifying inspection), Ty Gibbs finished second for the third straight race. Ruben Garcia Jr. earned his best finish of the season in third, with Kraus and New Hampshire winner Chase Cabre rounding out the top five finishers.
Tanner Gray, Drew Dollar, Trevor Huddleston, Spencer Davis and Max McLaughlin completed the top 10. Jagger Jones finished 11th after late race contact from Huddleston and Hailie Deegan finished 12th after being penalized for an uncontrolled tire with under 20 laps remaining.
In the battle of the coasts, the East won. Handily. K&N East regulars (including Kraus) took nine of the top 10 spots when the checkered flag flew.
The Casey’s General Store 150 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, July 31 at 7 p.m.
The next K&N Pro Series East event will take place next weekend on Friday, August 2 at Watkins Glen International, with the next West race taking place at Evergreen Speedway on Saturday, August 17.