The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 27, for the Pocono Green 225 Recycled by J.P. Mascaro & Sons. The race takes place one day after JR Motorsports driver Sam Mayer’s 18th birthday. He will celebrate by officially making his Xfinity Series debut.
Mayer will replace Josh Berry in the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet Camaro, kicking off his NASCAR schedule with JRM. He will make his first Xfinity Series start at Pocono Raceway, a track where he has previous experience. Mayer started 18th in an ARCA Menards Series race at the Tricky Triangle in 2020 and he raced his way to a third-place finish while Ty Gibbs took the checkered flag.
“I’m really excited to finally get behind the wheel of the Tire Pros Chevrolet this weekend,” Mayer said about his Xfinity Series debut, per JR Motorsports. The last year has gone by so slow but the last month has gone by super fast and I’m really thankful that I have this opportunity with JR Motorsports. Josh Berry proved that this No. 8 team could win and that is what I plan on doing every time I am in the car.”
Mayer Will Start the Pocono Race 20th Overall
Following the Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway, Mayer will take over the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro and will have to make up some ground early. NASCAR released the starting order for the Pocono Race on Wednesday, June 23, revealing that the rookie will start in the middle of the pack.
Mayer will line up next to Myatt Snider on the 10th row, just behind Brett Moffitt and Tommy Joe Martins. Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier, on the other hand, will lead the field to green with AJ Allmendinger and Brandon Jones on the second row.
Mayer did not have the opportunity to post a fast qualifying time ahead of the Pocono race. There are only a limited number of events on the 2021 schedule that feature practice sessions and qualifying laps. Previous races at Daytona International Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Nashville Superspeedway were among those that provided this opportunity. However, NASCAR determined the Pocono starting lineup through its special formula.
The fastest lap time from the previous race makes up 15% of the formula while the driver’s final race position makes up 25%. The owner’s final race position from the previous race makes up another 25% while the owner points position makes up the final 35%.
Mayer Will Face Off With the Pocono Winner Once Again
When the JRM rookie climbs into the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet Camaro, he will prepare to face off once again with the winner of the ARCA Menards Series Pocono race. Gibbs will also take part in the Xfinity Series race, driving the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra.
Gibbs has made seven starts in the Xfinity Series during 2021, making two trips to Victory Lane and posting six top-five finishes. He last controlled the No. 54 JGR Toyota Supra during the race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he started second and finished third. However, Kyle Busch took over the stock car for races at Texas Motor Speedway (June 12) and Nashville Superspeedway (June 19), taking the checkered flag in both and reaching 100 career Xfinity Series victories.
The two rising stars will now face off once again at Pocono, albeit in very different stock cars. Will Gibbs win a third Xfinity Series race or will Mayer clinch his first career victory for JR Motorsports? NBC Sports will provide the answer on Sunday, June 27, starting at 12 p.m. ET.
READ NEXT: Jeff Gordon Announces Major Career Move