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Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Pupil Completely Shifts His Focus Away From Winning After Photo Finish at Texas

Published 04/20/2024, 8:50 AM EDT

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Last weekend in Texas, Dale Earnhardt Jr celebrated as a race-winning owner when Sam Mayer picked up his first victory of the season. The driver of the #1 car was in a last-lap shootout to the start/finish line with Ryan Sieg, making for a brilliant photo finish. With his feet firmly planted in the playoffs now, the JR Motorsports star said that he will now be focussing on earning as many points as possible rather than winning.

And if you think about it, that’s actually the smartest way to go ahead considering the playoffs format.

After his Texas win, Sam Mayer shifts his priorities for 2024

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The lore of a race win can often distract a driver from the bigger picture since NASCAR has an unusual points-scoring system. If we look at the Xfinity race last week, Sam Mayer might have won, but Justin Allgaier (P3) scored the most points. That’s thanks to the stage points he accumulated over the course of the race. Mayer understands this and in a recent interview with Frontstretch, said that he would be aiming to win stages. But he did not rule out racing for the win entirely either.

“Hundred percent, [Playoff points] will be the main focus of [Talladega] weekend especially because I think we can go up there and run for these stage wins. Like there are mile-and-a-halfs where it usually takes me about a stage and a half to get up there and we have a chance at stage 2, but not often. Usually, it’ll take me a while to get up to speed and get everything figured out. So coming to these places, or even road courses like… I know that I am going to have a shot at the stage win just purely because the car is good, I know how to do it, and we just gotta go out and do it. So stage points, stage wins, those are huge and obviously checkered flags at the end of the day,” he said.

It has been a good week for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s driver, and not just because he won a race. Recently, a new sponsor was added to the roster of the #1 car. This was a welcome addition for a racer who has struggled at times this season but seems to have found a little bit of form in the last couple of race weekends.

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Sam Mayer joins hands with a new partner for 4 races

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It was recently announced that RTIC Outdoors will sponsor Sam Mayer for four races this season. These will be at the Darlington Raceway, Portland International Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, and Pocono Raceway.

Speaking about the new deal, Sam Mayer expressed a sense of excitement as he looked forward to the Darlington race next month. Sponsorships are crucial in NASCAR and for a 20-year-old driver, the more, the merrier.

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“I’m really happy to be welcoming RTIC Outdoors to JR Motorsports and to our No. 1 team. It’s been great getting to know everyone at RTIC over the last couple of weeks and I can’t wait to get to the track with them in Darlington and see what we can do together,” he said as per a report by Frontstretch.

It will be interesting to see how the JRM driver gets on with the rest of the regular season now that he has secured his spot in the playoffs. Do you think he will win another race before the round of 16?

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh