Race Weekend Central

Ryan Sieg Oh-So-Close, Yet Oh-So-Far from 1st Xfinity Win at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas – Finishing second sucks.

Finishing second by .002 seconds really sucks.

Finishing second by .002 seconds while vying for your first win in your 342nd NASCAR Xfinity Series? Probably one of the most heartbreaking results imaginable.

And that’s exactly what happened to Ryan Sieg at Texas Motor Speedway in Saturday’s (April 13) Andy’s Frozen Custard 300. After starting 14th and running inside the top 10 throughout the afternoon, Sieg had a rocket of a car that came to life in the final stage.

Sieg first took the lead with 18 laps to go, and on the final restart with 11 laps to go, and he jumped out to nearly a two-second lead over Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier, the latter of who had dominated the first two stages.

But Mayer started running the bottom in turns 3 and 4 with a half-dozen laps remaining, and all of a sudden, he was right behind Sieg as the two took the white flag. A bad corner from Sieg saw the two side-by-side on the backstretch, and while it looked like Mayer would pull away to the checkers, he got loose and allowed Sieg to be right with him to the finish line.

The two touched, banged doors and barreled to the finish line in a near dead heat that was too close to call live. In the end it was Mayer who won by no more than a few inches, as he beat Sieg to the line by an official margin of 0.002 seconds — tied for the second-closest finish in NASCAR Xfinity Series history.

That potential first Xfinity win for Sieg, which has been more than a decade in the making, will have to wait at least another week.

See also
Sam Mayer Wins Xfinity Race at Texas in Photo Finish

“Just tough,” Sieg said. “I was doing all that I could do. I wish we were on the other side of that .002. It is what it is. I think we are in the Dash 4 Cash now, so that is a good positive. We ran up front where we needed to be. We were able to make gains on it. I feel like there is more to come. We just have to put a full race together.

“Ugh, we were so close. That just sucks.”  

With the highest of highs right in sight, such a disappointment would be difficult for anyone to process in the moment.

“The first emotion is definitely disappointment,” Sieg said. “We had it. We were leading at the end. It is disappointing, but you have to look at the other side of it and move on.

“… Just got too tight [at the end]. I was doing all I could do. I was changing lines, changing brakes, changing everything. It was just that close. I saw him coming. I was doing all I could do. In the end I was just trying to run him into the wall to win the race. We were just so close. I have finished second before, and it really sucks.”

Still, as disappointing as the finish may be, it’s a fantastic result for an RSS Racing team that consistently excels with what it has.

“I think this will be a good start to what we’ve got going,” Sieg said. “It’s positive but disappointment right now.”

And while start No. 342 may not have been the magic one for Sieg or the No. 39 team, he remains optimistic that it will eventually go his way.

“One of these days it will work out for us, Sieg said. “Yeah, what do you do, you just got to move forward on to the next one and kick some ass somewhere else.”

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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Excellent drive overall from Sieg, especially when he took the lead. When Mayer was catching up, I thought Sieg should have stuck with the high line. It’s where his car worked best at that point and Mayer wouldn’t have caught him nearly as quickly as he did due to the loss of momentum from running the bottom that time. Mayer may have caught him anyway, but that was a better chance for him. At least he made it a race to the finish and what a finish it was.

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