It is no secret that being surrounded by the best minds and talents in the game can help advance a young drivers career. For 15-year-old, Sam Mayer, those types of people have been by his side since day one.
Sam grew up watching his father, Scott, who competed at the highest levels of open wheel and sports car racing which included stops with the Verizon IndyCar Series the Indy Lights Series and the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series.
“His passion for racing is really what got me started”, Mayer said. “I always said that I really want to do this, I really want to be on the track and that’s what actually got me into racing and I just loved it from there, and now here we are.”
Mayer, a native of Franklin, Wisconsin, got his start in racing when he was just four years old, running go karts around his home state. As he gained experience and skills, his schedule started to spread across not only the country, but the globe.
“We ended up going pretty much all over the country to race anywhere we could,” Mayer said, “I even ended up going over to France to run the International Championship and we did pretty well over there.”
During the early stages of his career it was starting to look like Mayer would follow in his father’s footsteps and work his way into the open-wheel or sports car ranks. Instead, he decided to carve his own path, one that would take him to legend cars, late models and now the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
“When I first got into go karts I really wanted to go to IndyCar like my Dad did. As I got older I started to gain the interest in NASCAR and it seemed like it might be more fun so we took the chance. He tries to give me a few pointers here and there, but really he has let go of the wheel and let everyone else that he has gotten me with to take charge.”
In his legend car career, Mayer checked off an impressive list of accomplishments that includes winning the US Legend Winter Heat Championship, the Summer Shootout and the US Legend Asphalt Nationals. The success allowed him to make the jump to full-scale stock cars in 2017.
RACING-REFERENCE: Sam Mayer Career Statistics
With a background that includes a variety of different race cars, tracks and competition, it is safe to say that at just 15-years-old, Mayer has one of the more diverse resumes amongst young drivers today. The Mayer family even has a half-mile paved road course in their backyard for Sam to run his go karts to gain as much experience as he possibly can.
All of his past experience and success has led to a 2018 season that has placed Mayer on the forefront of the racing scene. A Late Model ride with JR Motorsports, a team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. has given him a chance to prove just how good of a young talent he really is. The opportunity also surrounds Mayer with the right people to help advance his career, such as Late Model ace and now teammate, Josh Berry.
“They (JRM) have really good equipment which helps a lot when I’m trying to learn and build experience”, Mayer said of his new team. “Also being with Josh Berry over there has helped a lot too because almost every track is a new track for me so to be able to be surrounded by that knowledge is so helpful.”
— Sam Mayer (@sam_mayer_) July 29, 2018
Recently, Mayer has started three K&N Pro Series events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and Watkins Glen International, all of which are tracks that are not only new to him but present several different challenges with higher speeds, larger fields and road racing in a stock car.
His best finish with the series to date came in the Great Outdoors RV Superstore 100 at Watkins Glen International where he drove to a fifth place finish after starting in the 20th position. The road racing background certainly showed, however, for his first time doing so in a stock car, it was a run that impressed a lot of people.
“Having a really broad road racing background really made me comfortable going there (Watkins Glen International) so I was glad that I was able to pull a top five but it was really all about learning,” he said. “I definitely feel like we did better than I thought we were going to which is obviously really good.”
Mayer will make a few more K&N Pro Series starts this season before what he hopes will be a title run in 2019.
“This year is pretty much all learning and getting ready to go for the championship next year in the K&N Pro Series. Going to all of these different tracks and learning what I have to do and getting feedback off of my team is really the whole thing about learning and gaining experience. Understanding what different tracks are like and how important tire saving can be in these cars has been my biggest thing so far. I’m excited to see what the future holds with these cars.”