Ryan Sieg was white hot at the beginning of 2019. But that consistency the No. 39 team built over the first three months of the season began to fade over the past five races.
On Friday night (July 12) at Kentucky Speedway, Sieg was able to stop the skid of five consecutive finishes outside the top 10. The No. 39 Chevrolet unloaded fast off the hauler on Thursday in the two practice sessions, continuing that speed into the race.
Sieg began the Alsco 300 in 13th, hovering around that position for the entire first stage with a 14th-place finish. In the second stage, the No. 39 car got up to 12th. But it was a caution-free final stage that the Sieg’s team battled to a ninth-place finish, as drivers like Riley Herbst and John Hunter Nemechek, both of whom were running in front of him, had pit road penalties during a cycle of green flag pit stops.
Overall, Sieg is happy with the top 10, especially with how the past five races had gone.
“We needed this because the past couple races we’ve been pretty far off from where we think we should be,” Sieg said of his night. “That’s what we have to do and get better at. Unload better like we did this weekend, and the team did great. Shane [Wilson, crew chief] did great all night. We executed on pit road and got us a few at the end. It was a great night for the team.”
Admittedly so, the past month-and-a-half has been tough on Sieg and his team. In the five races between Pocono and Daytona the No. 39 team had a best finish of 12th. In that same timeframe, Sieg had three results of 24th or worse, including two DNF’s.
Ultimately, the top-10 finish at Kentucky is what Sieg needed to get some of his confidence back.
“It’s been a struggle lately,” Sieg added. “It’s like, ‘I don’t know if we can keep up anymore.’ That was good to get back running in the top 10 and closer to the Cup-affiliated teams. It feels like we can do it. I feel like we’ve got a couple good tracks for us if we get everything just right and unload good and get a good baseline, we can execute at those tracks coming up.”
With Brandon Jones blowing an engine in the final stage, Sieg leapfrogged the No. 19 team in the championship standings to 11th. With nine races to go until the postseason begins, the Georgia native is feeling comfortable with where his team is at.
“You’ve got to have some pretty bad mess-ups to lose 100 points,” he stated. “Three or four Iowa’s to lose all of the points we have ahead of 13th.”
The Xfinity Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend where Sieg has a best finish of 15th (twice) in five starts.