DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 24, 2002) - Scott Riggs wasn't nervous or scared about starting his two-day Busch Series test session at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday in preparation for the season-opening EAS/GNC Live Well on Feb. 16 ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 24, 2002) - Scott Riggs wasn't nervous or scared about starting his two-day Busch Series test session at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday in preparation for the season-opening EAS/GNC Live Well on Feb. 16 .
When you're joining a team like the No. 10 NesQuik Ford fielded by ppc Racing that won a championship in 2000 and posted a runner-up finish in points last year, there shouldn't be too much to worry about.
"If I was just coming down here with a new team or had new guys on board or a team that wasn't established, I would be more nervous and scared than excited," Riggs said. "Right now, I'm so comfortable because I'm in such good hands. These guys have been here. This is the same old ball game to them. They know how to play it and what to do."
At ppc Racing, Riggs replaces Jeff Green, who left the team for a Winston Cup ride with Richard Childress Racing. After completing his first day of testing on Thursday, Riggs' fastest speed was a 180.534 mph.
The 31-year-old Riggs couldn't have asked for a better opportunity in the Busch Series garage. If fact, ppc Racing is probably the only team that could've lured him from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and his top-notch ride with Ultra Motorsports.
Last year in the NCTS, Riggs won five races and finished fifth in the championship standings wheeling the No. 2 Dodge. At ppc Racing, he not only moves a step closer to Winston Cup, but he also remains in equipment that can win races week in and week out.
"I wasn't going to go to just any Busch team," said Riggs, who'll be vying for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. "I wasn't going to leave an established truck team just to say I'm driving Busch or Cup. The only way I was going to go was to go with a team that was going to be competitive and win races. That's the only way I'm going to be happy."
Despite testing only a few times with the team, Riggs says that he has quickly developed a solid relationship with the crew, which is virtually intact from the previous year and led by veteran crew chief Harold Holly.
"It's already there," Riggs said of the chemistry. "These guys come from the same kind of background as I do - hands-on experience. No one on this team had a silver spoon in their mouth when they started. Everybody works hard to keep where they are. That's what makes them draw together so tight. I feel like I jumped into a team with a bunch of brothers that all have the same mentality and intensity level about racing."
January testing at DIS will conclude on Friday with the final day of NASCAR Busch Series testing. The Oldfield Grandstand is free and open to the public with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.
BUSCH SERIES NOTEBOOK
* Fastest on Thursday at the Speedway during testing was Lyndon Amick, who turned a lap of 185.319 mph in the No. 26A Dr. Pepper Pontiac during the afternoon session. Amick joins Carroll Racing after driving for Amick Motorsports.
Said Amick: "That's a good speed. We could probably go a couple of tenths faster than that for qualifying. But that's pretty much all we got. We're not holding anything back. I think we've got a good top 10 car and that's where we need to start."
* Owner/driver Joe Nemechek will field three teams in the Feb. 16 EAS/GNC Live Well 300. Nemechek, who won the pole for last year's race, will continue to drive the No. 87 Pontiac. Defending race champion Randy LaJoie will pilot the No. 7 Pontiac. Jeff Fuller, who's participating in this week's test session, will wheel the No. 88 Pontiac.
* Dan Pardus, driver of the No. 32 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet, tested a Monte Carlo that formerly belonged to the now defunct Alumni Motorsports team. Pardus, who is a Daytona Beach, Fla., native, is running a limited Busch Series schedule in 2002 and if he goes fast enough during the test, might enter the EAS/GNC Live Well 300.
* Joe Ruttman, who won last year's Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona, subbed for Jimmy Spencer in the No. 1 Yellow Freight Pontiac during the test session. Ruttman posted a speed in the 184 mph mark, but can't explain what the crew is working on.
"They won't tell me because I would tell," Ruttman said. "They say, 'Dummy get in, it's your turn. With a little bit of sound information, I would be touting it in a heartbeat."
Tickets for the Feb. 16 EAS/GNC Live Well 300 and other Speedweeks 2002 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.