Despite a tough final outing in front of his home crowd, Dave "Sideways" Sieders has finished Second Outright in the 2014 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series - fuelled by Hog's Breath Cafe on the streets of Homebush Olympic Park this weekend, 5-7th December 2014.
After qualifying his Qualify Me! Ford V8 Ute on the second row of the grid, a mid-race punt into the fence had the 30 year-old from Western Sydney stuck in the middle of the pack for the three races, however, his 10th placing for the weekend was still enough to give him his third Series Runner-Up title in four years.
"That's another one that's got away from us," said Sieders, "we are definitely proud about the fact that we've never finished outside of the Top Five since we joined the Series, and have finished the season in second place, three times now, but it's definitely getting quite frustrating".
"We knew we were a long-shot coming into this round, but things started to look like they were going to swing our way at the start of the weekend, but then our luck swung against us, and we weren't able finish the year off how we would have liked."
From the opening sessions, it was clear that Sieders was going to have to battle between last year's Champion, Ryal Harris, and eventual 2014 Champion, Kris Walton, to finish the year off, having finished behind them in Friday's practice sessions and qualifying third fastest, 0.1s off pole, on Saturday morning.
"The car felt good, and we did hold provisional pole for part of the session," said Sieders, "unfortunately, in trying to go faster I was risking torching some tyres, so had to settle for P3 to make sure we had good rubber to race on."
Chasing a mammoth 63 point deficit for the Series win, Sieders needed more than a strong result to pull off the feat, and when Kris Walton stalled on the line in the opening race, Sieders was ready to pounce.
Running in second place as Walton slipped to 13th on the opening lap, Sieders luck ran out on lap five when he was punted into the turn 11 tyre bundle by Ryan Hansford (who was penalised post-race) and fell to finish the race in 15th.
"That just shows which way our luck keeps running," said Sieders, "Walton stalls on the grid, gets hit like we did at Bathurst and still finishes 10th, and we make a few small tweaks after qualifying, have a rocket of a car and look to challenge for a race win before we get put into the wall".
Missing out on the Top 12 inversion for race two sealed Sieders' Championship position, as Walton was moved to start from P3, and Sieders spent the race battling two fierce and fast competitors in George Miedecke and Craig Dontas, eventually finishing in 12th position.
"The Sydney track is a tough place to get past people, and when you've got two strong Holdens like Craig [Dontas] and George [Miedecke] in front of you, who have better drive out of the corners, all you can really do is just position yourself to take advantage of any mistakes."
The final race of 2014 had Sieders starting from position 13 on the grid, and after another race-long battle with Miedecke and Dontas, Sieders finished the race in 12th and taking 10th outright for the round.
"I got caught in a lot of dirty air and the engine got too hot too quick, so I wasn't able to push through like we felt the car was capable of," said Sieders, "the Championship win might have been a long-shot coming into the weekend, but we would have liked to finish the year on the podium for our local round".
The 2015 V8 Ute Series commences at the Clipsal 500 on the Adelaide Parklands Street Circuit from February 26-March 3, marking the category’s 15th appearance at the V8 Supercars season opener.
"We have a bit of work to do before the 2015 season starts, maybe look at what changes we can make and work out how to get this string of bad luck to swing around would be good too."