BAKERSFIELD, CA (March 9, 2001) - Scott Riggs enters the Orchard Supply Hardware 250 as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point leader. For Riggs, a short-track specialist from North Carolina, the next race on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck...
BAKERSFIELD, CA (March 9, 2001) - Scott Riggs enters the Orchard Supply Hardware 250 as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point leader. For Riggs, a short-track specialist from North Carolina, the next race on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour at the tough Mesa Marin Raceway half-mile allows him to revisit the type of track where he cut his racing teeth.
"Bakersfield is a track that I hope to have pretty to good luck at," said Riggs, who has more than 100 career short-track Late Model stock car wins to his credit. "I grew up on a short, high-banked track and I ran good in the Craftsman Truck Series race last year at Nashville which is like Bakersfield in a lot of ways. My home track is Orange County (NC) Speedway, which is also a small high-banked track, so I know Bakersfield is a track I'll be comfortable on."
Riggs has back-to-back Top-5 finishes in the first two races of the 2001 NCTS season - Daytona (FL) and Homestead (FL). His No.2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge has run up front in both superspeedway races and a win would make it two victories in a row for the "Ultra Bad Boys" at the half-mile, high-banked Mesa Marin Raceway.
"Even when I was the crew chief for Ken Schrader, we've always ran well at Bakersfield," recalled Tim Kohuth, who guided Mike Wallace and the Team ASE entry to an NCTS win at Mesa Marin last year. "I'm not sure why that is, but for some reason, we have had very good success there. I've gone there a lot, even back when we used to run Winston West and things like that, so maybe I know the track a little better than some of the other guys."
After starting on the pole last year, Kohuth's Team ASE bunch kept Wallace in the hunt for the win all day long. Quick pit stops and sound tire management were the keys to a winning afternoon on the treacherous Mesa Marin oval. Wallace eventually snatched the lead for good on lap 247 and never looked back, giving Team ASE two wins in the first four races of the 2000 season.
This time around, Riggs will have those same "Ultra Bad Boys" behind him at Bakersfield, which is sure to be a plus for the young charger. Both driver and crew chief couldn't be more confident about Team ASE's abilities and its desire to win.
"They're the best darn pit crew in truck racing - maybe in all of racing - and they've gotten even better over the winter," said Kohuth of his Team ASE unit. "These guys are turning four tire stops in the high 13-second range. They look like cats. They go to the gym three times a week. They know what it takes to be competitive in this series, on the track and in the pits. I don't have to tell them, they just do it."
Kohuth is also excited to have a fresh, young talent like Riggs behind the wheel of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge this season. Riggs finished 20th in the final 2000 NCTS standings despite competing in just 17 races. Now Riggs has one of the top rides in the division and appears poised for a run at the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title. Sitting in first after the initial two races of the season is certainly a great start toward that goal.
"He's pretty aggressive and he's got a lot of 'want to' in him," said Kohuth of Riggs. "Scott knows he's got an opportunity at driving one of the best trucks in the series. Mike Wallace did a very good job for us last year, but he was always thinking he wanted to go Winston Cup. Scott hasn't been there yet, so he's got a lot of young lion in him and I like that."
Along with the driver change, Ultra Motorsports has made the switch from Ford F-150s to the Dodge Ram this season. According to Kohuth, the transition has gone well, but like any new equation, there are always unknowns.
"So far, it seems to be pretty good," said Kohuth. "Obviously, we're still learning, but we've got a couple Top-5's in the first two races and (teammate) Ted (Musgrave) has already won. I sure can't complain. We get a lot of help, we're the factory Dodge team, so I'm kind of overwhelmed with all the support we've been getting."
Like any professional athlete, Riggs is a student of the sport. This will be his first-ever visit to the tricky Bakersfield oval and the racetrack will present a new and formidable learning opportunity. Riggs is confident he is up for the challenge.
"Bakersfield is a track that I'm trying to learn a lot about," Riggs stated. "It's tight, fast and slippery, just the kind of track I'm used to and like to race on. I'm looking forward to racing and, just maybe, giving Team ASE, CARQUEST and Ultra Motorsports their second-straight win there."
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