BUSCH: Riggs lands first win of 2003 at Gateway

BUSCH: Riggs lands first win of 2003 at Gateway

MADISON, Ill. - Scott Riggs scored his third career victory at Gateway International Raceway, as 2002 Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss encountered back luck on the races white flag lap. "Never give up, never give up!" Riggs cheered in victory ...

MADISON, Ill. - Scott Riggs scored his third career victory at Gateway International Raceway, as 2002 Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss encountered back luck on the races white flag lap.

"Never give up, never give up!" Riggs cheered in victory lane. "It was pretty surprising those guys usually get pretty good gas mileage.

Scott Riggs.
Photo by Autostock.
"They kept telling me to conserve gas. I had a good race car; you know a good top five. Awesome job on pit road, the guys got me spots every time I came in, track position is so critical here. A little tight off the corner, couldn't quite catch Bliss - he had the car to beat.

"I hate it for those guys, but you know these guys deserve it we've been working hard trying to keep our consistency."

Three-quarters of a lap from his first Busch series win, Mike Bliss in the No. 20 Gibbs Chevy ran out of gas, allowing Scott Riggs to score his first win of the 2003 season. Bliss finished 12th, the last car on the lead lap. He led 117 laps; Riggs led only the final lap.

"We had until lap 210 to run on fuel," a disappointed Bliss commented. "I don't know what happened, we are trying to figure it out right now. I guess we didn't get it full. When I saw the white flag it ran out. I could not believe it. I still can't believe it.

"We had a really great car.it was the class of the field."

It's a shot in the arm for the No. 10 ppc Racing Ford team, who have charted only three top-ten's and had five finishes of 20th or worse this year.

Rounding out the top five were David Green, Jason Keller, Brian Vickers, and Bobby Hamilton, Jr.

Pole sitter Ashton Lewis, Jr.'s luck ran out on lap 108, when the No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevy was collected in a wreck that also involved Randy LaJoie, Larry Gunselman and Brad Teague.

"It took us out. This whole civil air patrol crew has been smiling a whole lot this weekend with our first pole position and we went out there and led some laps.

Ashton Lewis.
Photo by Tony Johns.
"After a little bit in the run, I figured we'd had the car to lead the race and just kinda took the backseat for a little while and was waiting for that first pit stop to adjust it. Charlie (Lewis, crew chief) made some good changes thought we were making some headway with that car.

"Not sure if we would have had anything for that No. 20, but we were gonna walk away with a top ten finish from this race no matter what. Just kinda biding our time, and we kinda got picked up at the end of somebody else's mess."

Lewis, who was looking to revitalize his family owned team this weekend, has only one top-ten this season, and currently sits 17th in championship standings. He was able to get the limping No. 46 back out with 53 laps to go; Lewis finished 33rd.

After an 11th place finish today, Todd Bodine slips to second place in the Busch series championship, five points behind new leader David Green. Shane Hmiel stays third, followed by ppc Racing teammates Scott Riggs and Jason Keller. Ron Hornaday falls two markers into sixth. Just 99 points separate the first five drivers.

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