Anyone with the opportunity to walk through the garage area at a NASCAR event or in the pits of a local short track will get a behind-the-scenes look at what teams do to prepare for competition.
Not everything is the same. The haulers may look different, the number of crew members working on the cars will vary and the resources they are using to prepare will vary from team to team.
An example of this can easily be seen in the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage area where one finds a variety of competitors ranging from Sprint Cup Series-affiliated teams to family- owned teams such as those with drivers Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements.
Neither of these teams has any direct connection to teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The resources available to them are somewhat less than what a Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports or Richard Childress Racing team would have at its disposal.
Yet one of these teams made the inaugural Chase field while the other came up a couple spots short.
“We don’t have the funding like they have, that’s the biggest thing, you know what I mean,” said Ryan Sieg, whose team made the Chase. “We are trying to do it all with the least amount of guys, but we can only afford so many guys. We are just trying to do it on a small budget, trying to get sponsors week to week. We are still trying to get that big sponsor that will really help us out. That would be beneficial for the whole year.”
Clements finished 14th in the points before the Chase cutoff and came up two positions short of earning one of the 12 spots. His team has also been dealt a challenging financial hand, but continues to do the best with what it has.
“It’s very tough to race against those teams week in and week out. Some weeks, if we are really on our game, we can race with them. But a lot of times they are just a little bit faster,” Clements admitted. “We feel like we can compete with them at the short tracks and road courses. But the mile-and-halves and up, we just don’t have the speed that we need compared to those guys. It’s an uphill battle for sure.
“It’s a miracle that we get enough funding for tires for a weekend,” Clements added. “Until we can get some better funding to where we can go after some better equipment and more people, we are just going to keep doing what we are doing now. Which is great, but I want to win. I just want to go out there and win. We are going to keep trucking and make our program better and better.”
Clements says his team operates on a tight budget.
“Yeah, we have to watch what we spend and do, and not wreck, stuff like that,” Clements explained. “My dad is the crew chief and we build our own engines. We just try to watch every dollar to where this doesn’t get too big and fail on us. We want to be here for the long haul, not the short haul.”