By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Embracing the ‘little team that could’ mantra, Ryan Sieg finished fourth in the Sparks 300 and left the 2.66-mile oval on the NASCAR Playoffs cutline.
The driver of the No. 39 A-Game Ford Mustang was towards the back of the 14-car lead pack in the closing laps. Sieg was among the first to jump to the outside line, making a bid for the lead. He followed Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer forward.
A block from race leader Austin Hill on Gragson took the two Chevrolet Racing drivers out of contention. Sieg stayed pinned to Mayer’s bumper, shooting through the middle of the two lanes.
With only a handful of laps to go, the energy of the pack was focused forward. Sieg’s only hope was for the leaders to split, similar to Landon Cassill he was boxed in. When the checkered flag waved, Sieg crossed the line in fourth.
“I was trying to do all I could do right there with the one trying to get something going, trying to see which lane was going to go,” Sieg explained. “Then I went high and then got a little bit of a shove and then had to go back to the bottom. Trying to just manage the runs, that’s the big thing with the cars now is that the runs are how you get a boost to go.
“Just trying to get to whoever is going to push us the most was the goal there. I thought I did a pretty good job and just there was one time maybe we could have got in front of the 16 right there, but it’s so, so tough to do that here. All in all, good points day.
Sieg and his RSS Racing team have had a late-season surge. Talladega marked the Tucker, GA native’s fourth consecutive top-15 finish. A ninth-place finish in Stage 2 also netted Sieg an addtional two points.
The 35-year-old now sits eighth on the Playoff grid, the final spot for the next round. With only one more race until elimination, Sieg and his family team are six points ahead of Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric.
“I’m pretty confident as the past three or four weeks have gone pretty good,” Sieg stated. “We’re going in the right direction. I feel pretty confident go into (The Roval) and just do our deal and hopefully find ourselvesadvancing.”
The fourth-place finish was Sieg’s second top-five this season. His other top-five, also a fourth-place, came in the Spring race at Talladega. This top-five was the 16th in his Xfinity Series career.
The final race for the Xfinity Series Round of 12 is the Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL on Saturday, October 8, at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.