SPIN OUT HALTS RIGGS' MOMENTUM IN LAS VEGAS LAS VEGAS -- March 13, 2005) -- It was not the finish Scott Riggs was expecting when he arrived at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Despite the sophomore driver turning speeds that allowed him to drive to the...
SPIN OUT HALTS RIGGS' MOMENTUM IN LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS -- March 13, 2005) -- It was not the finish Scott Riggs was expecting when he arrived at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Despite the sophomore driver turning speeds that allowed him to drive to the front, Riggs' day ended prematurely when the Valvoline Chevrolet spun out, sending the team home with as1st-place finish.
Riggs qualified fourth for the 400-mile event but was forced to start from the back of the 43-car field after the team changed a transmission following Friday's practice session.But when the green flag dropped, he found himself driving to the front of the pack. By Lap 60 of 267, Riggs was comfortably running in the top-10 and he was sitting in fourth by Lap 100.
"The Valvoline Chevrolet was a rocketship today," explained Riggs. "We felt very confident heading into the race that we'd be able to find our way back to the front where we belonged, and that's exactly what we did. Unfortunately, that's not how it ended."
On Lap 195Riggs was working to pass lapped traffic when he lost control of the Valvoline Chevrolet and spun across the racetrack.
"We were being patient,picking cars off one at a time, and moving to the front," he explained. "Then I let it get away from me and it cost us big. I had a handful of wheel as I came through Turn 4 and the car came around on me. I got into the throttle too quickly and I lost it."
When Riggs brought the machine around the track to pit road, the flat tire that resulted from the spinout eventually caused the right-front fender to come apart.
"We should've come in and pit right then, knowing we had flat tires," offered Riggs, "But we tried to catch up with the field and not lose a lap and the tire ended up tearing off the front right fender. That's what really hurt us."
The Valvoline team worked on the car several times on the pit road, but eventually opted to bring the machine behind the wall for repair.
"It's disappointing to have good cars in California and Las Vegas and not come home with a deserving finish either week," offered Riggs. "I can't explain how frustrating it is. This team has improved so much this season, but we haven't gotten finishes to show for it.That's what we have to work on."
Despite the finish, crew chief Doug Randolph remained optimistic.
"Scott was on the wheel today and drove like crazy," he said. "We had one of the fastest cars on the track and went to the front, like we knew we would. Every team out there knew we were here today, just like they did in California and Daytona. We'll just have to get them next week."
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will head to Atlanta next week for Sunday's (March 20) Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.