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XFINITY

Ryan Sieg Hopeful of Locking Up Playoff Berth in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev — Barring any unexpected winners, Ryan Sieg and his family-owned team will be back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs.

“It’s huge for our team and our sponsors, and we’re looking to try to make it to the next round, at least get a win somewhere,” Sieg told POPULAR SPEED. “Maybe the next two weeks or something. We’re pretty decent at Richmond and at the ROVAL, you know. Shane, the crew chief, is pretty up to speed on the road course stuff and he ran good there last year, so he’s, he’s pretty excited, puts a lot into the road course.

“So hopefully we’ll get the win before the season’s end.”

The last time the team made the 12-driver cutoff was in 2016 and, it was considered an upset. However, that is not the case this year.

Sieg has proven to be impressive throughout the year, scoring two top-five’s and nine top-10’s, in addition to only having four finishes of 20th or worse.

“A couple of years ago it was all new to us, and our stuff wasn’t as good,” Sieg said. “It was decent, but we had a couple of mishaps in that first round and really, we probably should’ve went almost to the next round on points, but just a few mishaps by myself. I think we sped on pit road, we should have finished like sixth of the Dover and we ended up 19th. This year everybody’s more experienced, to Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and myself, so I think we got a better shot to try to make it to the next round this year.”

Looking ahead to the potential opportunity in front of him, the driver of the No. 39 is confident in his team’s ability.

That being said, Sieg knows that he will need to bring his best in order to compete against the likes of Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, and JR Motorsports.

“You just have to execute everything, and hopefully they have a bad day, you know, not wishing anything on anyone, but you know what I mean?” Sieg said. “It’s going to be fun to see where we stack up this weekend and next, but next weekend, we should have been top-three at Richmond the first time around. Just pit crew lows really. We lost like 30 spots total during that race, should’ve been better than we were, but that is what it is. You know what I mean?

“Even this first race here, earlier in the year, we had pit crew struggles, and we corrected that situation and got a different pit crew. It’s definitely going to be better this time around.”

This Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will determine if Sieg will be a part of the playoffs or not. If everything holds steady, he would enter the final seven races with one playoff point as of right now.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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XFINITY

Top-Five at Daytona for Sieg Adds Confidence Ahead of Atlanta

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Saturday afternoons season opener for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona International Speedway displayed a calmer start compared to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race the night before.

The race was filled with single file racing up against the wall; with less than five laps to go it was the same old songg. The only driver who really tried to make moves at the bottom was Chase Elliott. It was not shocking because he was the only one with the same technique during Thursday night’s Gander RV Duel event.

Due to the single file racing, the event helped many teams take their cars back home in one piece. That is significantly important for the small teams with less resources.

One of those was Ryan Sieg Racing, which had two cars finish in the top-10. The No. 39 Chevrolet piloted by Ryan Sieg finished fourth and the No. 93. Chevrolet driven by Jeff Green placed seventh. Furthermore, Sieg received stage points after finishing in the top-10 after the first stage.

“It’s great, its spectacular for both of our little teams out of Georgia to come home with two top-10s at Daytona,” Sieg told POPULAR SPEED. “Just fantastic, all the guys behind it is the reason this thing goes, and they work their tails off. We only got just a few guys so to do three cars it’s a lot of work and they put it all in. “

The hard work certainly paid off this weekend, marking his first top-five since  Iowa in 2017. On the other hand, the last time Green finished in the top-10 was in 2017 at Talladega Superspeedway.

As we look ahead, Atlanta is the next circuit on the schedule. Strong starts to the season can be big for teams like Sieg’s.

“It’s a big deal, it’s always good to run good to start off the season and it does build confidence,” said Sieg. “You show that you can run towards the top-10. We’ll see how we stack up next week, but we should be pretty good, we’ve got some better stuff. We have new guys, new crew chief and they’re all part of it.”

EMAIL BRANDON AT: brandon.rivero@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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XFINITY

RSS Racing Expands Involvement in XFINITY Series

After experiencing success last year with Ryan Sieg, RSS Racing is set to step it up another notch in 2018, entering three cars on a weekly basis.

Sieg will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 39 entry for the fifth straight year, after placing 15th in the year-end driver rankings last year.

“It’s great to return to the XFINITY Series in 2018 for the full schedule. It’s been a busy winter preparing three cars for Daytona but I’m looking forward to getting to Daytona and seeing where we stack up,” commented Sieg.

Jeff Green has joined the Georgia-based organization to drive the No. 38 car, following a season-best 10th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway. The veteran has 16 career victories on his resume, including a series championship in 2000.

RSS Racing did not confirm the name of the third driver, saying that “has not been determined.” They also stated that “sponsor announcements for the team are forthcoming.” Kevin Starland is set to serve as the competition director. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

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Commentary

Stealing the Spotlight – 5 Drivers You’ll Hear About Next

NASCAR has done a lot – and rightfully so – to showcase the youth movement that is currently underway. As Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and (possibly) Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle move onto the next chapter of their lives, talented youngsters like Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones and William Byron have arrived on the scene.

The roster of young drivers is indeed impressive as another wave could be set to arrive in the wake of Elliott, Larson, Jones and Byron. 

Check out five drivers – only two of which have Cup team affiliations – who may be appearing more in the headlines as they win races and compete for championships.

John Hunter Nemechek

When people hear the name Nemechek, they still think of former Cup star, Joe Nemechek. But that is changing as son John Hunter Nemechek continues to make his name in the Camping World Truck Series. Racing since the age of five, John Hunter has a resume that includes the 2012 Allison Legacy Series Championship, a victory in the 2014 Snowball Derby and experience in a variety of series including ASA, UNOH and NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East.

Nemechek began competing in the Camping World Truck Series in 2014 and, a year later, captured his first of three wins in the Truck Series at Chicagoland, coming 16 years to the day after father Joe won his first Cup race.

Voted the Truck Series Most Popular Driver in 2015, he found himself mired in controversy a year later. After a win at Atlanta, Nemechek won his second race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Nemechek bumped Cole Custer for the lead, and the two battled door-to-door and off-track to cross the finish line, resulting in a post-race brawl.     

Nemechek made the Truck Series’ inaugural Chase but was eliminated in the Round of 8. At the age of 19, Nemechek has already collected 28 top 10 finishes to go with three wins in the Truck series.      

Spencer Gallagher

No less than Dale Earnhardt, Jr has commented on Spencer Gallagher’s entertaining interviews, and the 27-year-old XFINITY Series rookie who drives for GMS Racing has the on-track skills to back it up.  After coming up through the ranks of Bandoleros, Legends and Late Models, Gallagher has also competed in the K&N Pro Series West and East and ARCA series.

The 2014 ARCA 98.9 at Kansas Speedway was the last race of the season, but it served as Gallagher’s first win. Meanwhile, sharing a truck ride with Max Gresham at GMS Racing, Gallagher finished third at Talladega.

After full seasons in the Camping World Truck Series in 2015 and 2016, Gallagher also ran select XFINITY Series races. He scored five straight top 10 finishes and a second-place finish at Talladega but failed to make the inaugural Truck Chase.

While he will still run in the Truck Series part-time, Gallagher has graduated to the XFINITY Series, driving the No. 23 for GMS Racing. Currently best known for a scuffle with John Wes Townley during last year’s Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway (a rematch from a 2014 battle at Iowa), Gallagher is ready to grab the spotlight away from his competitors on and off the track.   

Ryan Sieg

Rarely has any driver done so much with so little than Ryan Sieg. Driving No. 39 for a family-owned team with limited sponsorship, Sieg continues to compete in the XFINITY and Truck Series.

He began his NASCAR career in 2009 in trucks, running nine races for his family’s team following a one-off with Gunbroker Racing. He finished in the top 20 in six of those races, including a ninth-place finish at Gateway.

A year later, he competed in all 25 races in the Truck Series, finishing in the top 10 at Kentucky and Dover and finishing 15th in the points. All this despite no major sponsorship.

In 2013, while still running a full schedule in trucks, Sieg made his XFINITY debut, substituting for the suspended Jeremy Clements. A year later, he began to focus on NASCAR’s second-tier division, scoring two top 10 finishes at Daytona: a ninth and a third. 

In 2015, he finished eleventh in the points, the highest ranked driver not affiliated with a Cup team. Consistently running in the top 20, Sieg’s best result was an eighth-place result at Kansas.

In 2016, he made the XFINITY Series Chase. Eliminated in the Round of 12, he finished ninth in the point standings.

Brennan Poole

Brennan Poole almost won the XFINITY race at Talladega in 2016.  As Joey Logano wrecked behind him, Poole crossed the finish line first but was told Elliott Sadler had been leading when the caution flag flew. Despite the disappointing outcome, the race helped put Poole on the map.

Poole, a 2002 National Champion in quarter-midgets and 2011 UARA Late Model Champion, made a major splash with a win in his ARCA debut in 2011 at Salem Speedway.  He ran a full schedule in 2012 for Venturini with two wins and a third-place finish in points. After running two years on a part-time schedule, Poole left ARCA for NASCAR, having secured six wins in 35 career starts.

Moving to NASCAR’s XFINITY Series in 2015, Poole shared driving duties on HScott Motorsports No. 42 with Ganassi Racing’s Larson. Including a ninth-place finish in his debut at Las Vegas, Poole scored two top 10s and ten top 15s in 17 starts.

His results were good enough to score a full-time ride with Ganassi in 2016.  To date, the win has eluded him, but he has scored 19 top 10s.

Chase Briscoe

Chase Briscoe is following up his 2016 ARCA Championship with a ride in Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Ford in the Camping World Truck Series.

Briscoe competed in quarter-midgets and 410 sprint cars growing up and competed in the K&N Pro Series West in 2013. After contacting his friend Christopher Bell in 2015 about a contract with Roush Fenway Racing, Briscoe completed some ARCA tests for Cunningham Motorsports at Mobile International Speedway and Fairgrounds Speedway in Tennessee.

Briscoe ran a pair of ARCA races later that year, finishing tenth at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and fifth at Salem Speedway. In 2016, he all but dominated the ARCA series with six wins including four consecutive, en route to winning the championship.

In his Truck Series debut, Briscoe finished third at Daytona.

These are just five drivers out of the many competing in the XFINITY and Truck Series. Aglance at the other development to series, you could say the future is bright for NASCAR, but there may be even more youngsters to come. 

 

EMAIL: john.milner@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Custer Fails to Finish Following “Clown Move”

For the second week in a row, Cole Custer found himself with a damaged racecar.

The day started off well for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver, who ran up front throughout the event with a pair of eighth-place finishes in the first two stages. Custer was poised for a strong finish when a slow pit stop put him deep in the running order.

As he tried to make his way back through the field, contact with Ryan Sieg sent Custer into the turn one wall, resulting in significant damage to the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang.

“I just got hooked going into the corner,” he said. “I think I hit him (Ryan Sieg) a tick just on my side draft going off of four and then he decided just to hook us going into turn one and wreck us. It is what it is, but we’ll just move on. We had an awesome Haas Automation Ford Mustang. I thought we could have competed for a win there. We had a bad pit stop. We were gonna work our way back up there, but just got our day ended by a clown move.”

For the rookie, this is his second straight finish outside of the top-20 as he finished 21st last weekend at Phoenix Raceway following late-race contact with Austin Dillon.

“Last week it was all my fault, and I’ll take that all on me,” he said. “Today it was just a clown. I don’t understand what his reasoning was to pay us back that much, but that’s just a joke.”

Custer currently sits 12th in the series standings with one top-10 finish this season.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

NASCAR XFINITY Series 2016 Recap/2017 Outlook — Ryan Sieg

Without any affiliation to a NASCAR Premier Series organization, Ryan Sieg’s No. 39 still made the XFINITY Series’ inaugural Chase in 2016.

His family-owned team seems always to be in search of sponsorship. However, despite a lack of funding, he finished better than three adequately-funded teams with Premier Series ties in the Chase standings.

Car No.: 39

Crew Chief: Kevin Starland

Team: Ryan Sieg Racing

Wins: 0

Top-Fives: 1

Top-10s: 3

Points Finish: 9th

2016 Quick Summary: This past season marked Sieg’s third full-time effort in the XFINITY Series, and it was his best yet. He had a career-high average finish of 17.8, and it was also the first time the 29-year-old had a top-10 finish in points.

He was consistently a top-20 driver on race day this year. He had only nine finishes worse than 20th out of 33 races and finished all but two events.

He beat out Dakoda Armstrong, Jeremy Clements, and Ross Chastain for the 12th and final Chase berth. However, the No. 39 was eliminated after the opening Round of 12 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

2016 Highlight(s): Sieg finished third at Daytona International Speedway in July to match his career-best finish which came in the same race in 2014. He made a lot of ground that night — he started from 30th position.

Also, making the Chase was a highlight for the No. 39 driver. As the summer came to a close and playoff implications became more significant, TV broadcasters mentioned his name more often on-air, which carried into the first three Chase races.

2016 Lowlight(s): Sieg and Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed got into an on-track incident at Pocono Raceway in June, which spilled over into the garage. Both drivers were out of the race, and a shouting match between each driver and their crews ensued. Sieg called Reed, “brain-dead,” and wound up 29th while Reed finished 33rd.

2017 Outlook: Ryan Sieg Racing doesn’t have the muscle to contend for wins like the Premier Series programs, such as Joe Gibbs Racing or Roush. But the No. 39 is continuing to grow and proved their relevance in the series after making the Chase.

The next step is to post more top 10s and return to the Chase again. Maybe by next year, he’ll have an easier time finding sponsorship after the accomplishment of making the playoffs. He’ll also want to advance in next season’s Chase.

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @The5thJohnHav

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

‘Underdog’ Ryan Sieg Makes the Chase

Following 26 races, the Chase for the XFINITY Series Championship now has its 12 competitors. One of which will include journeyman, Ryan Sieg.

Sieg locked himself in following a strong effort in the Drive for Safety 300. The No.39 RSS Racing Chevrolet ran inside the top-20 all day, battling his way back on the lead lap after falling a lap down earlier in the race, and muscled his way up to an eventual 12th place finish, his fourth consecutive top 15 finish and his 12th overall of the season.

Sieg will serve as the only driver to drive for a team without any affiliation with a Sprint Cup Series in the Chase. Perhaps making him and his team the ‘underdog’ of all the 12 drivers competing in the XFINITY Series Championship.

An underdog role has been stuck with him for his entire career, as since the inception of RSS Racing in 2009. He and the team have had to battle with all the classic problems smaller teams have to face, which includes struggling to find the funding and sponsorship to field cars on a weekly basis.

In a sport which just as much business as a sport, these problems may be too much to overcome – but not for Sieg. Throughout all the hardships, he and his team have continued to not only handle the odds but excelled in spite of them.

Even with the ‘underdog’ reputation, Sieg will also still serve as a credible threat for the championship. Consistency is a crucial part of the Chase, and he has been this season although the uphill climb he and his team against the field.

No matter what happens, it’ll be special considering the odds Sieg and RSS Racing have already overcome.

Sieg will enter the Chase as the ninth seed.

Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

Categories
XFINITY

Koch, Sieg Leave Richmond With Chase Advantage

Following the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond, the race to the XFINITY Series Chase is another step towards the conclusion, and the field is almost set. Entering the finale, two drivers sit on a nice points cushion, while others have some work to do heading into Chicagoland.

Coming into Friday Night, Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg sat in 11th and 12th respectively holding at least a 15 point advantage of 13th. Both managed to exit Friday with a slightly bigger advantage.

Koch, who entered the night 22 points ahead of 13th, battled just outside the top-10 for the majority of the race before coming home in 15th. With the finish, the 31-year-old extended his lead over 13th by one point and now has a solid 23 point gap heading into the cutoff race.

Sieg also had a solid night, which ended with a 14th place finish. Like Koch, he added more cushion to his gap over 13th as he now sits 20 points ahead.

While those two sit with an edge, Dakoda Armstrong and Jeremey Clements now leave Richmond with some ground to make up as both drivers nights didn’t go as well as hoped.

Armstrong, who ran inside the top-10 for at the beginning of the event, battled a loose car late and settled for a 16th and now a 20 point deficit. Like Armstrong, Clements also struggled with his car throughout the night and finished 17th. The driver/car owner now sits 29 points behind.

While not impossible, Armstrong and Clements will need to have great days in Chicagoland to overcome the obstacles in front of them to make the Chase. Well on the flip side, Koch and Sieg will enter next weekend needing mistake free-days, knowing one could cost them an opportunity at a possible championship.

Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

Categories
XFINITY

Sieg’s Performance Strengthens Chase Position

Ryan Sieg tied his career-best finish of third in Friday’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Despite a lack of stability in sponsorship, Sieg and RSS Racing continue to make it work as NASCAR hits the summer stretch.

The No. 39 driver is 11th in the points standings with 11 races left until the XFINITY Series’ inaugural Chase. Sieg sits 16 points above the 12th-place cutoff following the Daytona night race and kept himself out of trouble in the under-the-lights crash fest.

“We’ve been going race to race trying to find sponsors, and we’re still looking for that full-time sponsor,” Sieg said. “This should be a step in the right direction, and hopefully, people will notice and come onboard. It always finishes crazy, and it’s exciting — I like coming here.”

Mike Ford, a former Cup crew chief and a member of Dale Jarrett’s 1999 Winston Cup Championship, became Sieg’s crew chief at Texas earlier this year. Since then, Sieg’s team has shown top-15 speed each week and credits the improved level of performance to the veteran atop the pit box.

“He’s been a huge help,” Sieg said about Ford. “He’s really stepped it up, and he’s translated us into new setups. He’s just been tremendous.”

Sieg finished 10th at Texas and is on pace for a career-best average finish, which is currently 17.7 through 15 races in 2016. Sieg believes the No. 39 could not only be in the Chase but advance past the first round.

“It’d be huge to make it into the Chase, and you never know what can happen; we could make it into the next round,” Sieg said. “It’s going to get better and better as we go.”

Sieg finished third in the July 2014 Daytona race. It’s his first career top five, and he now has three career top-10 finishes at the 2.5-mile track. The 29-year-old worked through traffic and was lucky to avoid the wrecks, which paid off with a solid points night.

“We were adjusting on the car and got back in traffic,” Sieg said. “It was fun to move around, and everything worked out. You have to get in the right line and move at the right time. You never know what’s going to happen. Just put yourself in the right position, and I thought I did that well tonight.”

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @The5thJohnHav

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Ryan Sieg on Ryan Reed: ‘Money Can’t Buy Skill’

LONG POND, Pa. – Ryan Sieg had hopes of taking the car he ran at Pocono Raceway on Saturday to Michigan next weekend, but RSS Racing has a lot of work to do to make that happen.

Sieg got into it with Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Reed on track in the Pocono Green 250 before things then escalated in the garage. While neither driver confirmed there was a physical altercation, witness says the two did get together and crews had to intervene.

“He kept jabbing off, and I figured I’d shut it up for him,” Sieg said. “Then all the crew guys jumped in on me, and I couldn’t get a hold of him.”

Both the owner and driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet, there are only a handful of individuals who work for Sieg, and they were quickly outnumbered. But Sieg made sure his point was made with the media.

With their haulers parked next to each other in the garage, Sieg said Reed doesn’t believe he does anything wrong, and he hasn’t “figured it out yet.” Furthermore, Sieg said there is no talking to Reed.

“You can’t race around the kid. He’s got a lot of money, and he’s got a Roush car, but can’t drive it. Just an idiot,” Sieg continued. “Everywhere you go just seems like he’s in a wreck or whatever. Money can’t buy skill, obviously, with him.

“We had a really good car, but sucks get torn up here in the garage and have nothing to show for it from somebody that obviously can’t see, or he’s braindead, can’t drive. Probably all three.”

Reed emerged a short time later to address the media but didn’t have much to say. Passing the incident off as a racing deal, Reed admitted words were exchanged between the two drivers and that emotions ran high.

“It’s racing. I look forward to talking about it in a calm, cool, and collected manner and working it out,” Reed said. “We both race every week and it’s not going to do any good to go out there and get into a battle royal. But at the end of the day it’s going to take two parties here to agree, and I think we need to sit down and have a mature conversation and when that happens then that happens.”

EMAIL KELLY AT kelly.crandall@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.