NEWTON, Iowa. — The kid just keeps on impressing.
Sam Mayer earned his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series victory of the 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, Wis., 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 four, sustaining rear damage.
However, his No. 16 Bill McAnally Racing team repaired the damage multiple times on pit road. Somehow, they were able to escape with a top five result and exit Iowa second in the standings. He maintains the West points lead by eight markers.
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.
Sam Mayer, Ty Gibbs, Ruben Garcia Jr., Derek Kraus, Chase Cabre, Tanner Gray, Drew Dollar, Trevor Huddleston, Spencer Davis, Max McLaughlin, Jagger Jones, Hailie Deegan, Colin Garrett, Brandon Oakley, Travis Milburn, Todd Souza, Josh Fanopoulos, Takuma Koga, Taylor Canfield, Brittney Zamora.