Riggs Survives Talladega, Scores Season's First Top-10 TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In a race that saw not one, but two of Talladega Superspeedway's notorious wrecks, known as "Big Ones," Scott Riggs escaped unscathed in his No. 66 Hunt Brothers Pizza ...
Riggs Survives Talladega, Scores Season's First Top-10
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In a race that saw not one, but two of Talladega Superspeedway's notorious wrecks, known as "Big Ones," Scott Riggs escaped unscathed in his No. 66 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet and notched a seventh-place finish in the Amp Energy 500, his first Top-10 of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He lead the race twice, for four total laps.
After rolling off 11th at the start, Riggs' strategy was to "keep it clean" while "logging laps," and he told his Haas CNC Racing teammates not to be concerned with his running position early in the race. To keep it clean, Riggs would need some help in avoiding the two big ones, the first a nine-car wreck and the second involving 11, and that lift came from spotter Jason Jarrett.
"I can't say enough about the job Jason did for us this weekend," Riggs said. "He got us through two big wrecks during the race and the crash in Friday's practice. We were in good position to get caught up in all of them and came through without a scratch. He was awesome.
"Really everyone on the team did a great job here. It was a total team effort," Riggs said. "I told the guys at the beginning of the race that whoever made the least mistakes would end up out front and they came through with quick pit stops all day long. Bootie (crew chief Robert "Bootie" Barker) called a great race from on top of the box and the team executed the plan.
"The shop crew deserves a lot of credit too. They built me a great car this weekend," Riggs said. "We made a couple of minor chassis adjustments early in the race, but it was just tires and fuel after that. I was a little concerned after three cars blew tires, but Bootie said our tires didn't show any unordinary wear. Actually, he said they looked really good. All I had to do was go fast. It was a lot of fun today," Riggs said.
Riggs was named the Mobil 1 "Command Performance of the Race" Award recipient for his race at Talladega.
He will be presented with the award during driver introductions at Lowe's Motor Speedway Saturday night, prior to the Bank of America 500.
Typical Talladega Takes its Toll on Raines, No. 70 Team
A strong start to the day for the No. 70 iQ Drive Chevrolet ended in disappointing Talladega fashion as "The Big One" took its toll on Tony Raines and the Haas CNC Racing team in the Amp Energy 500.
At the drop of the green, Raines maneuvered his Impala SS from an eighth place starting position to the rear of the field as planned, to stay out of trouble and have an easier access to pit road for the first caution. When the first yellow flag flew at Lap 33, the team went to work, putting the power steering and alternator belts back on after removing them prior to their qualifying run in order to gain a little more speed with the restrictor plate engine.
With his car steering much more smoothly, Tony Raines took the green flag in 35th position and quickly drafted his way into the top 20. A quick two-tire stop by the No. 70 team on a Lap 54 caution got Raines back out in the 12th spot. A slight loose condition was described by the driver, but it wasn't anything he couldn't handle.
Keeping pace with the leaders and moving to the front, Raines was running just outside the Top 15 when a chain reaction crash on Lap 68 swept him up along with seven others.
"The car was pretty good and I was just running around the top and drafting to the front. I saw a car go up the track and come back down in front of me, and when everyone turned left to avoid it we just got caught up," Raines said.
The No. 70 crew feverishly went to work to repair the Impala SS and get it back out on the track without losing too many laps. After the team's hard work and some new sheet metal, Raines pulled the car back out on Lap 98 to make circuits and gain as many positions and valuable points as possible. He held on for the rest of the race and finished 34th.
Next weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Tony Raines will be back behind the wheel of the Hunt Brothers Pizza sponsored No. 70.