BRISTOL, Tenn. — It’s hard to top winning three times at a race track in a single season, a feat Sam Mayer finished off last week.
The 17-year-old from Franklin, Wisconsin, completed an even more impressive feat Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Mayer scored his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victory to start the evening, and then climbed into the No. 21 Starr Children’s Fund Chevrolet and drove to his fourth straight ARCA Menards Series win in the Bush’s Beans 200.
The Bush’s Beans 200 also counted toward the ARCA Menards Series East — where Mayer has won four of the five races to move closer to back-to-back East crowns; and the Sioux Chief Showdown, where Mayer extended his lead heading into the finale in two weeks at Memphis International Raceway.
Earlier in the week, Mayer and JR Motorsports announced he would make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for the organization in 2020 and compete with them full-time in 2021.
Before he gets there, he has some unfinished business with GMS Racing.
Mayer drove past his GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt to steal the show in the playoff opener for the trucks, in just his seventh career start. He went straight from Victory Lane to the grid for the ARCA Menards Series race.
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He led four times for a race-high 116 laps Thursday, passing Bret Holmes on Lap 156 to take the lead for the final time and crossing the line 2.572 seconds ahead of Ty Gibbs.
Gibbs led 53 laps and came home with his third runner-up finish; his 10th top five in 15 starts that includes four wins.
Mayer won twice — July 31 and Aug. 2 — at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway for the ARCA Menards Series. That kicked off an eight-race span in ARCA where he’s won six times and had two third-place finishes. He’s notched an East win at Dover International Speedway, then followed with wins at Missouri’s Lebanon I-44, back at Toledo and then Bristol.
Mayer leads Gibbs by six points in the Sioux Chief Showdown and by 26 in the East.
Max McLaughlin started 20th and charged to the front — leading 19 laps — before settling for a third, while Mason Diaz finished fourth.
Michael Self rebounded from late race damage to rally for a fifth-place finish — his 10th top five in 16 races. Combined with Bret Holmes’ eighth-place run, Self retook the ARCA Menards Series lead by one point with four races remaining.
Hailie Deegan finished sixth, followed by Taylor Gray, Holmes, Derek Griffith and Justin S. Carroll.
The ARCA Menards Series will turn right back around and race Saturday in the Toyota 200 presented by Crosley Brands at Indiana’s Winchester Speedway. The Sioux Chief Showdown champion will be crowned in the Sioux Chief Power PEX 200 at Memphis on Sept. 26. And the ARCA Menards East finale is slated for the Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Florida’s 5 Flags Speedway on Oct. 10.