Sam Mayer left no doubt as to who was No. 1 on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Mayer, the driver of the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, qualified first for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, led 50 of 67 laps, and – after a brilliant pass on Cole Custer – finished where he started.

The victory was a must-have. In order to advance into the Xfinity Series Playoffs’ Round of 8, Mayer had to do something he’d never done: conquer the Charlotte ROVAL™. 

Mission accomplished.

The 20-year-old executed a perfect overtake of Custer with four laps to go and pulled away to win by 0.909 seconds from Custer and Josh Berry.

Riley Herbst and Kaz Grala rounded out the top five. 

Berry – Mayer’s JRM teammate – was eliminated from the Playoffs along with Daniel Hemric, Parker Kligerman and Jeb Burton.

Mayer’s win was the third of his career, his third of the season and his third on a road course. The second-generation racer will take on Custer, John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Justin Allgaier, Chandler Smith, Sheldon Creed and Sammy Smith in the Round of 8.

Allgaier won Stage 1, while Nemechek won Stage 2.

SAM MAYER, NO. 1 JR MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET (Race Winner): “Our car was unbeatable all day. I could do no wrong. I could just stay out front. I’m really grateful for everything that JRM, Mardy (Lindley, Mayer’s crew chief) and everybody’s done. It feels really good to get a win. We kind of just used our confidence in road courses in general, to go out and get motivated to win. The only laps we didn’t lead today were mostly pit strategy, or early on, when (Allgaier) got us. I just felt good in the race car. I didn’t feel like I had to do anything crazy to be fast. I was able to stay calm because the car was that good. All I had to do was take care of it and be there at the end.”

COLE CUSTER, NO. 00 STEWART-HAAS RACING FORD (Runner-Up): “I like our chances at any (of the upcoming tracks). At this point, we’ve brought cars that are top-five cars every single weekend. If you keep doing that, eventually, you’re going to win some races.”

JOSH BERRY, NO. 8 JR MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET (Third-Place Finisher): “I mean, it was a solid day. I’m really proud of the car we had. Our car was really good. I feel like we were a top-three car all day. We had a little bit of an issue with the power steering throughout the race. I just couldn’t hit my marks as well, so I fought that and the steering for the second half of the race. We did a great job today. We didn’t advance because we wrecked the last two weeks, not because of today, so for Taylor (Moyer, Berry’s crew chief) and everybody who built this car, a lot of preparation went into this week. There’s a lot of people I’ve got to thank. I hate it didn’t work out, but I’m proud of the day we had.”