By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Talladega Superspeedway proved to be unpredictable for the NASCAR Xfinity Series once again. Underdog driver Ryan Sieg powered to a top-10 finish in the Sparks Energy 300. Sieg had a little luck and the right strategy to finish sixth for his family-owned RSS Racing team.
Sieg’s No. 39 Alabama Soda & Abrasion Repairs Chevrolet Camaro SS was one of many one lap down before the final caution. When race leader Justin Allgaier ran out of fuel, Sieg and six others took the wave around to move back onto the lead lap. In overtime, he followed JR Motorsports drivers Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler in the middle line. On the final lap, he was outside the top-15, 2.66-miles later, Sieg crossed the line in sixth.
On multiple occasions, Sieg had to avoid trouble to keep his car in one piece. At the start of the second stage, a multi-car accident wiped out four cars, damaging seven. Sieg had to dive to the apron to avoid getting caught in the melee. A handful of laps into the final stage, he once again had to slow to avoid an incident, this time the spinning Austin Cindric.
The sixth-place finish was the first top-10 of the 2018 season for Sieg and the eighth of his career. It also moved him up from 18thto 15thin the Championship Points Standings. Sieg is now 192-points behind Championship Points Leader Sadler, and 21-points behind the Playoff Cutoff held by Ross Chastain.
Sieg’s teammates also had good days in their underfunded equipment. J.J. Yeley finished 11thin the team’s No. 38. Jeff Green, who for much of the longest green flag run of the day was inside the top-10, finished in 13th.
Now Sieg and his family-owned team will prepare for the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 5. The race will be the last race until the regular season finale in which Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers are barred from competing.