RICHMOND, Va. – Ryan Sieg continued his breakout start to the NASCAR Xfinity Series season with a resounding top-five finish in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway.

Despite some of the series’ best bearing down on him through the night, Sieg stayed focused and was not rattled, coming out on top of several hard battles – including a race-long duel with Zane Smith.

That duel turned out to be the race for fifth in the closing laps, with Sieg gaining the upper hand.

Sieg’s end result led to a raucous celebration on pit road after the race, complete with a shower of Larry’s Hard Lemonade from his blue-collar crew.

“Man, this was great for us. It’s a huge deal,” said Sieg. “The Larry’s Hard Lemonade car was great all night long. I leaned a lot on experience, because we don’t always have all the resources or tools that some of the top teams do, to find success tonight. Between myself, Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and Cowboy (Starland), we got a good car here and got everything dialed in strong tonight.

“It was tough at the end, because we were ahead of the No. 2 (Tyler Reddick) on track, and then dropped behind him on pit stops there,” Sieg added. “It’s just difficult to get those spots back because everyone’s so close on speed, but we still ended up top five and held on at the end. It’s huge.”

Richmond marked a continued surge for the 31-year-old from Tucker, Ga., who upgraded his fleet at RSS Racing during the offseason with cars from Richard Childress Racing and motors from ECR Engines.

Those changes have helped Sieg get off to the best start of his seven-year Xfinity Series career, with two top-five and five top-10 finishes through the first eight races of the season.

Both marks are career-highs for Sieg, who sits ninth in points and already appears to be a serious threat to make some noise in the playoffs for the first time in his career if he maintains his current speed.

“What we’re doing right now is definitely exciting,” Sieg said. “To be top five at Richmond, a track where I usually struggle and don’t have the best stuff, I think is a sign of how far we’ve come. We ran (top five) all day. It shows where our speed is at now, and I’m so proud of this team for the work they’ve put in.”

Friday night wasn’t Sieg’s best-ever result in Xfinity Series competition – he ran second at Iowa Speedway in 2017 – but it was still a watershed moment for one of the journeyman teams in the series.

“This is like a win for us,” Sieg noted. “To run top five at a short track, that’s huge. We’ve only really done that at superspeedways, and once at Iowa, so it’s pretty exciting. We just keep getting better.”