DOVER, Del. - Scott Riggs executed a perfect pass of two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague with 39 laps remaining and sprinted to a five truck length victory in Saturday's MBNA e-commerce 200 race at Dover Downs...
DOVER, Del. - Scott Riggs executed a perfect pass of two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague with 39 laps remaining and sprinted to a five truck length victory in Saturday's MBNA e-commerce 200 race at Dover Downs International Speedway.
The win was the second of the 2001 season for Riggs, who opened a 118-point championship lead over eighth-finishing Joe Ruttman. Riggs, who won $47,335 plus a $10,000 bonus from series sponsor Craftsman for starting from the Bud Pole, averaged a record 99.256 mph in an event postponed a day by rain.
The 30-year-old Riggs and his Team ASE Racing unit also gave Dodge its eighth consecutive victory to match the series record set by Chevrolet on 1995, the first year of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Sprague, 0.694 second behind the winner at the checkered flag, led Hendrick Motorsports teammate Ricky Hendrick, the third-place finisher. Both drove Chevrolets. Ted Musgrave was fourth in the Mopar Performance Dodge, followed by Coy Gibbs, who recorded his first top five finish on the series in the MBNA Chevrolet.
Stacy Compton, Ken Schrader, Ruttman, Matt Crafton and Travis Kvapil completed the top 10. Ten of the 23 finishers from a starting field of 36 completed the 200-lap, 200-mile distance.
The event was slowed eight times by cautions that consumed 42 laps. Top 10 point chaser Randy Tolsma was involved in the most significant of several accidents, hitting the front stretch wall after a tangle with Gibbs on lap 112. The incident left Tolsma unhurt but his Team Rensi Motorsports Chevrolet was done for the day.
A brief shower put the field under caution between laps two and seven after track drying delayed the scheduled start by 35 minutes.
Riggs led the first 15 laps before being passed by outside front row starter Rick Crawford. Crawford, driving the Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford, headed the next 74 circuits but fell out of contention after a pit infraction on lap 112 cost him a one-lap penalty. Ruttman and Terry Cook suffered the same fate, also stopping for service outside their pit boxes.
Crawford got his lap back from Sprague on a 153rd lap restart, after Chuck Hossfeld and Jerry Hill wrecked in Turn 4. The advantage was short-lived, however, as the Alabama driver hit Cook * who*d restarted on the tail end of the lead lap ahead of Sprague * and spun.
Sprague, who led twice for 69 laps, was the victim of a truck that lost its handling edge in the waning laps. Riggs set him up with a move from high groove to low exiting the track's second turn and completed the pass entering Turn 3.
"When I finally got around him, I ran as hard as I could the last 50 laps," Riggs said. "I knew where I wanted to be and needed to be (the lead) and that's where I got and that's where I stayed."
Sprague, bidding to break a 21-race, one-year drought since his 19th series victory at Evergreen Speedway on June 3, 2000, expressed his frustration with the race's outcome.
"We just couldn't get off the corners like we should have," he said, complaining about a truck that wouldn't turn properly after his final pit stop on lap 148. "I'm getting tired of losing all the time lately when we're in a position (to win) and some of these (things) happen."
Riggs got a final assist from the lapped truck of Cook, which blocked Sprague after the leader had gone past.
Musgrave might have been a factor except for his pit stop, under caution on lap 148, a serial before pit road had been opened. He and Compton, hit with a stop and go penalty for having two many crew members over the wall during the same sequence, had to battle back through heavy traffic and ran out of laps.
Four drivers traded the lead five times during the one hour 54 second event, eighth of 24 races scheduled on the series this season. Next event is the O*Reilly 400K on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, the first of two series visits to the 1.5-mile superspeedway.