SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger) NOTE: Fresh off an eighth-place finish on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in the second COT race of the season, Riggs and company embarked on a two-day COT, Dodge Avenger test session at...
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger)
NOTE: Fresh off an eighth-place finish on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in the second COT race of the season, Riggs and company embarked on a two-day COT, Dodge Avenger test session at Richmond International Raceway on Tuesday. Riggs, who won his first career pole at Martinsville in 2005, qualified 26th last Friday at Martinsville. He was in 16th position during the 31-minute red-flag rain delay and kept working his way to the front when racing resumed to secure his first top-10 finish of the season. He moved to 36th in the series standings, nine points out of the top 35.
WHAT WAS DIFFERENT FOR YOU AT MARTINSVILLE? "We were sort of beating ourselves up in practice at Martinsville because we thought since Rodney (Team Director Childers) and myself both crew up on the short tracks like Martinsville and raced the late models at Martinsville that we should be pretty good. We backed up and took a breather. It's just a car -- four shocks, four springs. What would common sense tell you you need in the car to make it a good competitive racecar? We made some big changes and freed the car up and helped it through the center of the corner. We were a little bit too free and didn't have enough forward drive. We kept working on it during the race and during the red flag Rodney got a chance to sit down and talk to me and told me what it looked like the guys up front were doing and how much forward drive they had and how tight their cars looked to have that kind of forward drive. We kept tightening our cars up and every time we tightened it up we'd gain positions. We would up with a top 10 finish. We were fighting those guys from 15th-20th the whole time. Finally we got it better and drove up there and got a good finish."
YOU WERE NERVOUS FRIDAY AFTER QUALIFYING BUT YOU ENDED UP 26TH FASTEST. "We got in the show pretty safely, but we were a little worried about making it after we ran our lap. We were fourth out and we lost almost two tenths from what we practiced. That was scary. Two tenths can mean 20 positions."
WHICH AVENGER ARE YOU TESTING AT RICHMOND? "This is the backup we had at Martinsville. We're going to be looking at getting the car to roll through the corners. We've got a different set of tires here. Looking at the tire and going off what we learned here last week testing the Busch car, I think we've got a pretty good idea of where we need to be."
ARE YOU AHEAD OF WHERE YOU WERE AFTER SIX RACES LAST YEAR? "No, we're a lot further behind this year than we were by missing one of the first six races last year. That's just having five races where our best finish was 23rd (Las Vegas). We had a crash at California (41st). We tore a transmission out at Daytona (37th). We blew up at Atlanta (43rd) and blew a right-front tire at Bristol (31st). We can't be negative about anything. We've got to hold true about what we think. We all think we're doing the right thing, we have the right kind of team, we have the right kind of team attitude. We're working together well. Everybody is confident in each other. Everybody is doing the same thing every week. Last week we had one little break go our way instead of against us by getting the Lucky Dog after we got a lap down."
IS THAT THE FIRST RACE THIS YEAR YOU'VE GOT A BREAK? "I think so. I know we were in position to get a Lucky Dog several times this year when we weren't running well. I think we ran an entire fuel run and then another green flag stop and we were in a position the whole time to get the Lucky Dog at Atlanta and never got it. We ended up losing a motor any way, so it didn't matter."
HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM GETTING DOWN WITH ALL THE BAD LUCK? "We just remember that we're here because we know what we're doing, we're good at what we're doing and we're passionate about what we do. We know we're all here for a reason and a lot of things that happen are out of our control. You always look back on Monday morning and say we could have done this better and this better and that better. If you look back a week earlier I don't think there's anything we could have done better before we went to the racetrack to experience what we needed to do better. I don't think there's anything that can be negative about it. I don't think there's anything we can put our finger on that says this needs to change or this needs to be better. We all can be better. We all work to make our cars better. I think the COT has been hard on all the teams, including us, by having to build different cars and have our guys work on different cars and back and forth. Now you've got two different types of racing you're doing. You're doing COT racing and you're doing regular-car racing. That makes it a little tough."
IS DRIVING THE COT REALLY THAT DIFFERENT? "It's definitely a heavier car and the center of gravity is higher. It has a tendency to want to roll over more and you don't have as much spring travel, or shock travel or tire travel because the front splitter will hit the racetrack and you can't travel the car very far. You can't get the CG (center of gravity) down in the corner. It's definitely a different animal to wrestle around the race track."
DOES THE COT FAVOR THE BETTER DRIVERS? "I think it favors the stronger teams. Stronger teams have more resources and more people and more man hours during the week, having more engineering. No matter what problem you throw out there, no matter if it's the COT or a different tire, the better teams, the smarter teams, the teams that have more resources to learn it quicker are the people that are going to be up front. That's why you see the same people who were in the top 10 last year are the same guys in it this year. The same guys run in the top 10 every week. It's because they're top teams, not because the car made the difference."
SOME PEOPLE SAY EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS IS AMONG THE TOP TEAMS "I feel like we're getting there. There's one last threshold we need to break through as a team. What we need is a Catch-22. We need to run well and once you run well, you're able to attract more sponsors and get more money to have more people. I think it's a Catch-22. You've got to run well to do it, but you need those resources and funds to be able to hire more people and make your team stronger to be one of those top teams. You need a little luck to go along with it, too."