NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Defending ARCA Menards Series East champion Sam Mayer served notice to his competition on Monday at New Smyrna Speedway.
He’s picking up right where he left off last fall.
Mayer was the fastest man in town during a 100-minute practice session for the East cars ahead of the Skip’s Western Outfitters 175 at the .48-mile Florida short track.
That should come as little surprise, after Mayer romped to the series championship last season under the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East nameplate with four wins and 11 top five finishes during the 12-race campaign.
Now, he’s looking to begin his quest for a 2020 championship in similarly-dominant fashion with the No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet for GMS Racing.
Mayer’s quickest lap on Monday was an 18.378-second clip (94.025 mph).
“It took awhile for us to figure it out, but we made a bunch of changes in the rear end and it didn’t really do anything. But then we found something right at the end before our mock run that really gave us (the) speed we were looking for,” noted the Franklin, Wis., teenager.
“I feel like we’re gonna start on the pole and lead every lap like we did at Bristol last year.”
Ahead of his East debut for Chad Bryant Racing, New Englander Derek Griffith was second-quick to Mayer, followed by Venturini Motorsports teammates Corey Heim and Mason Diaz.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs completed the top five.
Chase Cabre landed sixth on the speed charts, followed by New Smyrna World Series super late model winner Jesse Love, Max McLaughlin, sprint car standout Gio Scelzi and Giovanni Bromante.
Qualifying for the Skip’s Western Outfitters 175 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET. Hailie Deegan was the polesitter for the 2019 edition of the New Smyrna East event.