Loudon: Scott Riggs preview

RIGGS EAGER TO BEGIN SECOND HALF OF SEASON LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2005)--For Scott Riggs and the Valvoline race team, the first half of the 2005 Nextel Cup season has been a roller coaster ride. After scoring three top-10 finishes in the first...

RIGGS EAGER TO BEGIN SECOND HALF OF SEASON

LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2005)--For Scott Riggs and the Valvoline race team, the first half of the 2005 Nextel Cup season has been a roller coaster ride.

After scoring three top-10 finishes in the first five events of the year, the team has struggled with results since then. At the same time, however, Riggs has collected six top-10 starts in the first half, one fewer than his total in '04. One of those starts was a Nextel Cup career first pole position at Martinsville Speedway.

This weekend's New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway begins the second half of the 2005 season, and Riggs remains optimistic about what's to come for the Valvoline team.

Q: Evaluate your 2005 season.

A: "It's not what we hoped or expected it to be. We started off this year with some good solid runs and finishes and really thought everything was going in the right direction. Then things just stopped clicking for us. We've continued to qualify pretty well, but we haven't gotten the results we need and that's what counts when it comes down to it."

"But this team has never backed down. They keep working hard week in and week out to make the Valvoline Chevrolet competitive. Even though we haven't had the results we feel we're capable of, we come to every track knowing that we're going to be a factor and that we have the ability to run up front. We've never lost confidence in each other and that's been important."

Q: What are your goals for the rest of the year?

A: "Our number one goal has always been to win races and that's not changed. We want to turn our season around-- to be a car that can finish in the top-10 every week. And I know we're capable of that. I don't think that's an unrealistic goal at all. I think we've proven with our qualifying efforts and the runs we've had that we have a team that should be in contention every week. No one out there is surprised when they see the Valvoline Chevrolet up front, we just need to be more consistent with it. We want people to expect us there every week."

Q: Talk about this weekend's race at New Hampshire?

A: "The Valvoline team tested at The Milwaukee Mile in preparation for this weekend. The two tracks are very similar and by going there we saved test days. We were very happy with the way the car ran there and the times that we were putting on the board. I think we figured a lot of things out that should help us this weekend. We're heading into the race confident that we can have not only a good starting spot but a top finish also."

"Last year we had a decent car there all weekend and then on race day, the sun came out for the first time and everything changed condition-wise and we struggled. I think we're more prepared for that kind of stuff this time around."

Q: Do you think this team is capable of winning a race this year?

A: "Absolutely. There isn't a doubt in my mind that I have what it takes driver-wise and that the team has what it takes team-wise to win races. I have all the confidence in the world it could happen. Just look at the improvements that we've made since this time last year. I know we still aren't getting the results every week, but we're up front and a contender every week and it wasn't always like that. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Valvoline Chevrolet in Victory Lane this year."

-mbvm-

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Scott Riggs