Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Sieg Rallies from Accident to Finish Third at Darlington

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Ryan Sieg’s visit to Darlington Raceway had its wild moments that led to his second third-place finish of the Xfinity Series campaign.

However, his Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 could’ve looked much different on Lap 2 when he got collected in a multi-car accident on the backstretch.

That was a direct result of Anthony Alfredo and Justin Allgaier tangling which led Daniel Hemric slamming into the wall and darted left into Sieg’s No. 39 CMR Roofing Chevrolet Camaro.

Sieg spun around but fortunately on his end, didn’t got hit from other competitors and went to pit road for damage repairs. After the race, he thought his day was over due to the crush panels being affected from the carnage.

“We crashed pretty good over there. The crush panels fell out of the car and it was frustrating,” said Sieg. “We need a good run and knew coming here that we had a pretty good car and make improvements.”

Much later in the race, a different pit strategy propelled him towards the front of the field where it ultimately gave him the race lead due to another series of circumstances. Oil from Brett Moffitt attributed to race leader Chase Briscoe’s bid for a Darlington sweep being snatched as he spun around in Turn 1 on Lap 118.

Sieg got by unscathed and when the race had to be halted with 28 to go, he was out front with a good shot of getting a maiden victory. That ideal vision was short lived as Ross Chastain made quick business on him when the race restarted with 21 to go.

Not that long after, he had fallen to fourth which was still a respectable result, but he would gain a single spot on the last lap to get his season-equal outing.

Following an instant classic duel between Chastain and Denny Hamlin ended with both drivers hitting the wall and running into each other, Sieg benefited from their incident as he got by Hamlin’s battered Toyota Supra to cap off a roller coaster Saturday.

“Great having CMR come back and get them a third-place like they deserve,” said Sieg. “We’re looking for a couple spots more and we’ll keep gaining on it. Hopefully, finally get them a win this year.”

The result was a breath of fresh air for the Georgian as the last four races haven’t been kind to him with finishes outside the top-10.

“It definitely pumps the team up and gets them going. Hopefully this will carry some momentum in the next couple of races,” said Sieg. “It’s tough to come back with the damage, but some of the guys are like ‘You drive better when you’re mad!’ Maybe I should’ve got a little bit more pumped up more at the end and try to hold Ross off.

“I knew he was faster and we were struggling in the later part of the run. So, I knew I was going to hold him up and wished I would’ve went to the outside on the final restart. All good and we came home with a pretty torn up race car and head on to Richmond.”

In difficult moments like he’s had recently and throughout the year, Sieg said having both crew chief Kevin “Cowboy” Starland and spotter Tony Raines has been instrumental on keeping he and the rest of the team composed.

“Cowboy didn’t say too much but Tony was calming down. They don’t have to say too much because I keep everything under control, but I was pretty frustrated at the beginning,” said Sieg. “Cowboy does a great job with what we have and I can’t thank all the hard work the team does. It’s pretty special to come together and running the way we’ve been running this year.”

With three regular season races remaining, Sieg sits 11th in points and is 120 points above the playoff cutoff line as the series heads to its final doubleheader of the year at Richmond Raceway (Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Sieg hopes to have a good run at the 0.75-mile circuit that’s been tough on him over the years as a fifth last spring is the only result he’s had above 12th in 12 Richmond starts.

“Richmond is tough for sure. I feel like we had some decent stuff last year and hopefully we come back with something good and be pretty decent,” said Sieg. “The no practice thing throws us off because Cowboy and I communicate well. We get our stuff better usually, but we’ve been lucky a couple of times too. You never know at Richmond because its tough, but I’ve gotten better there and feel like we can excel.”

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.