BRISTOL, Tenn. — The end result was the same, but the race itself couldn’t have been more different.
Sam Mayer wound up in Victory Lane in Thursday’s Bush’s Beans 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, sweeping the season at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile” and earning his third win of his career.
The race began with a bang, as Mayer made contact after starting on the outside of polesitter Chase Cabre in Turn 3 on the opening lap, sending Cabre into the wall.
NASCAR sent Mayer to the rear of the field following the incident, and he quickly made his way back through the field. By the Lap 50 scheduled break, he was already back inside the top five.
For the next 80-plus laps, Mayer followed Spencer Davis and company around Thunder Valley, waiting to pounce when the time was right.
With 13 laps to go, Mayer used the bump-and-run on Davis, who led the most laps for Rette Jones Racing, and didn’t look back, cruising to the victory by almost two seconds.
“There’s always that little bit in your mind that has doubt, but I felt pretty confident in the race car,” Mayer said of coming from the rear. “(Crew chief) Mardy (Lindley) put together a really good one, everyone at GMS […] with the aero and and all that, I couldn’t get by the No. 30 (Spencer Davis) to save my life until he made a mistake. It did pay off that we were there to get an opportunity to pass him. There was a little doubt in my mind, but I was pretty confident as well that we’d get it done.”
Ty Gibbs came home second for the fourth time this season, leading the DGR-Crosley brigade, with Ruben Garcia Jr. third, Mason Diaz fourth and Davis fifth.
Max McLaughlin, Cabre, Hailie Deegan and Joe Graf Jr. rounded out the top 10.
Following the Lap 1 accident, Cabre began experiencing lower back pain. He was assisted climbing out of his car post-race and has been transferred to a local hospital for further evaluation.
When asked about the Lap 1 contact, Mayer said Cabre “kind of deserves it” due to the way he’d been racing Cabre all season long.
“I did flat out dump him,” he said. “I didn’t mean it at all, but I did get in there way too hard and get into him.”
With the win, Mayer extends his championship points lead over Cabre to 22, the biggest margin of the season. McLaughlin and Gray now sit third and fourth with Derek Kraus’ absence at Bristol.
The Bush’s Beans 150 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, August 21 at 7 p.m.
The next K&N Pro Series East event will take place next weekend at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway, the second of two combination events with the K&N Pro Series West.