Preparations for the 2019 Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com are underway. The ballot was recently revealed and sent out to a panel of industry experts to determine the top short track racing prospects in North America.
As we prepare for the draft, we’ll be taking a look at a handful of drivers and providing scouting reports just like you would see ahead of the NFL Draft. These scouting reports will take a look at a driver’s on-track performance, as well as other qualities that may make or break their chances of making it to the top levels of NASCAR.
We begin our round of scouting reports today with a look at Sam Mayer, who will be looking to make the list of top 51 prospects for the second straight year.
Current Level: ARCA Racing Series / NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Hometown: Franklin, WI
Highest Pick: 35th (2018)
Anticipated Pick: 10th-15th
Mayer first made himself known at the 2018 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway when he finished second in Super Late Model points with six top-five finishes in seven nights. His performance during the World Series earned him the 35th pick in last year’s Speed51.com Short Track Draft. He would go on to finish fifth in CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour points for Jr. Motorsports with one win at Wake County Speedway. He was named one of the participants of the Driver’s Edge Development, a program for Chevrolet Performance drivers co-sponsored by GMS Racing and Jr. Motorsports.
Rising, Falling or Holding Steady: Rising
After a 2018 season where he earned one win, he has come out of the gates strong in 2019. He led every lap in the most recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway to score his first win in the series. Pair that with a top-five finish in the season opener at New Smyrna and Mayer has jumped out to an early lead in the championship standings. Add in a runner-up finish in last weekend’s ARCA Menards Series race at Salem Speedway and you have a young driver who is starting to rise in the developmental ranks.
On-Track Accomplishments: B-
Though he does have a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and a CARS Late Model Stock win to his credit, he doesn’t have a stat line that quite stacks up to other competitors vying for a top 10 spot. With only one full season under his belt, 2019 will be pivotal as experts get a heavier sample of his on-track accomplishments.
In 2018, he earned one win, five top fives, and 14 top 10s between CARS, NASCAR K&N East, and ARCA. He also competed in two Super Late Model races outside of the World Series, finishing 13th in the Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin International Raceway and 14th at the Redeye 100 at New Smyrna, respectively.
Mayer comes off as a shy kid that is starting to come out of his shell. At only 15 years old, he will continue to open up to media and fans, and we will get a deeper look at what he offers personality-wise. His participation in the Driver’s Edge Development alongside drivers with bright personalities like Noah Gragson and Zane Smith will also rub off on him as he gets older.
Sponsor Appeal: A-
Mayer has already received sponsorship from Menards, which has taken him far at a young age. As a part of Driver’s Edge, he will have the backing from Chevrolet Performance with GMS Racing. When it comes to sponsor appeal, he also has one of the best drivers NASCAR has seen in Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in his corner as well, which will also improve his own sponsor appeal.
The one thing he has going against him is his shyness previously mentioned, but he will continue to open up more as he progresses through his teens and becomes more immersed in the Driver’s Edge Development.
Social Media: B
Overall, Mayer is active on all of the major social media outlets. Smith uses his social media accounts to keep fans current with his latest racing ventures and keeps his fans updated throughout race weekends via retweets from his team and outlets like Speed51.com
The thing we'd like to see a little bit more of to vault his grade up higher in this category is more content from his personal life outside of the race track. Aside from an Instagram post here and there, not much is known about what he enjoys away from the track. A better look into his personal life would allow fans and potential sponsors to better connect with him.
Mayer will compete full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and in select ARCA Menards Series events with GMS Racing. He also has four NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series starts scheduled, starting at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 15, with some Late Model Stock races for Jr. Motorsports sprinkled in. He will have ample opportunity to set the short track racing world on fire and improve his stock for future drafts.
-By: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)