NASCAR Busch Grand National Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Nesquik Ford, is having a rookie season that would make most veteran drivers envious. In just 16 starts in Busch Series competition, Riggs has accumulated two wins and two poles, ...
NASCAR Busch Grand National
Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Nesquik Ford, is having a rookie season that would make most veteran drivers envious. In just 16 starts in Busch Series competition, Riggs has accumulated two wins and two poles, and following the Kroger 300 at Kentucky two weeks ago, Riggs moved into second place in the point standings, just 68 points out of first. Riggs, who also has a commanding lead in the Raybestos rookie-of-the-year standings, spoke about his season to date.
SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus
YOU HAVE THE ROOKIE STRIPE ON THE REAR BUMPER OF YOUR CAR, BUT YOU HAVE PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE AT MANY OF THE TRACKS FROM TRUCK SERIES COMPETITION.
"I think that any time that you're able to run on a circuit like the truck series, that gives you a lot of different experience on Goodyear tires and all of the different race tracks that you competed at in another series, like the Busch Series. The more laps that you have at a race track, the more you learn about the race track and the better the feel and, of course, the more confidence you have about getting after the race car pretty quick. I think that definitely being able to come here in the truck series is a huge advantage for me versus the other people that haven't been here before."
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TRUCKS AND THE BUSCH CARS?
"Of course, the first difference is the obvious difference and that's the aerodynamic packages. The trucks push so much air that you have to charge the corner hard because they decelerate so fast when you do lift off the throttle. The Busch cars are so aerodynamic, like a bullet, when you drive it in the corner they don't decelerate fast and you have to use the brakes to get them to slow down. That's the obvious difference. The other difference, the second biggest difference about the two vehicles is the fact the wheelbase, the distance from the front wheel to the rear wheel of the truck are 112 inches and the Busch cars are 105. I think the trucks are a little bit harder to get to turn. You have to wrestle them a little harder, where the short wheelbase on the Busch cars, you have to finesse them a little more and be on top of the steering wheel. If they get out from under you, you have to be very quick on your reaction time to get back and get it saved."
YOU HAVE DONE A LOT OF TESTING IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON, SOMETHING THAT IS PROHIBITED IN THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES. HOW MUCH HAS THE TESTING POLICY IN THE BUSCH SERIES HELPED YOU?
"We've tested at a lot of different tracks that we haven't run at, and that's just a positive with the rules that they have in this series. We still have lot of tests under our belts. We've only used five or so of our tests up, and being a rookie, we still have up to 12 tests yet to run. We've got a lot of tests that I think we're going to hold on to, save and try to figure out where is the best place to use them, and maybe keep them towards the end of the year. This way we can see if we're having problems with certain types of race tracks and we'll able to pinpoint those problems and do some real testing, where you couldn't do that in the truck series. Hopefully everyone else will be out of their tests and we'll still have some left at the end of the year, and that could play into our favor in a tight points battle."
WITH A VETERAN TEAMMATE LIKE JASON KELLER, DO YOU TRY TO TEST AT THE SAME VENUES HE'S TESTING, OR DO YOU PREFER TO THINK OF THE ORGANIZATION AS HAVING 19 TESTS AND TRY TO SPREAD THEM OUT?
"We overlap some race tracks, tracks that Jason has been to and feels like he needs to do some testing at. We don't want to dictate his schedule because we do have 12 tests of our own. I think that if one team goes and gets a good baseline setup, that pretty much means that both of the cars will have a pretty good baseline setup when we go back."
IS THERE A FRIENDLY COMPETITION BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS?
"I don't think so. I don't think there's a competition between us at all. I think that we want to see both of the cars do well; we want to see each other do well. What we want to do is to be able to race each other to the last lap for first and second, and that's the kind of mentality that we have in the shop. If they win, we win, and if we win, they win. I don't think there's any competition between us; we just both want to run good."
YOUR DAD RUSSELL HAS HAD A BIG IMPACT ON YOUR RACING CAREER AND SERVED AS YOUR SPOTTER LAST SEASON IN THE TRUCK SERIES. HE HAS SINCE TAKEN A STEP BACK, BUT WHAT IS HIS ROLE THIS SEASON?
"This year, my dad said that he's just going out to have fun. He's going out to go to all of the race tracks to try enjoy himself, but he's still here for me as he's able to sit back and sorta look from the outside looking in. He can see where I might need to change my line, or maybe I'm doing something that nobody else is, and I need to keep doing it or I need to quit doing it, and he can tell me that. He's still a coach in my corner that can tell me what I need to be doing or what he sees and what he thinks, and that's always a positive. As far as putting a title on what he's doing, he's pretty much said that this year is his year to go to all of the race tracks to just sit back and enjoy."
THREE FORMER CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES COMPETITORS - JACK SPRAGUE, GREG BIFFLE AND YOURSELF - CURRENTLY MAKE UP THE TOP-THREE IN POINTS, BUT YOU'RE THE ONLY THAT HAD TO TRANSITION INTO A NEW ORGANIZATION. DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE TWO WINS UNDER YOUR BELT IN A SHORTER SPAN OF TIME THAN OTHER TWO?
"I think you definitely have to get in good equipment, first off. None of us could run the way we ran in the truck series if we weren't with good teams in good equipment. It has just carried over to here where we race hard, respect each other and win races, and I think that we've all had great opportunities to come up to the next level and that's Busch and we're all still with great teams. Both of them, they were able to bring their trucks teams and move the whole team to the Busch Series. They knew that the chemistry worked already, and that's where I feel lucky because I've been able to step into a brand-new team, for myself, and I feel so lucky to step into a good ride with such a good opportunity."
DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE TAKING A BIGGER RISK THAN SPRAGUE AND BIFFLE BECAUSE YOU MADE THE JUMP TO THE BUSCH SERIES WITH ANOTHER TEAM?
"I feel lucky because I think that I put more pressure on myself to try to step up to the plate, do well and to be able to win races right out of the box more than they try to put pressure on me. I really didn't feel any pressure from them to win right away. It makes me appreciate it more, the decision I made to come over here with these guys. Looking back, it all seems to be in the right direction in which I should have gone. I'm just lucky to have the guys around me. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to step into a situation where everybody works together so well, and, luckily, they're all like me. I feel that's the best part, all of these guys are just like me and that's why we work together so well and that's why the 10 car continues to be so strong. We're all just a bunch of racers at heart. They want to do whatever it takes to make sure that they win races. When they come through that gate in the morning, they turn a switch on and they are nothing but a racer, giving it 110 percent, and whatever it takes to help pull each other through the weekend."
YOU AND JACK SPRAGUE HAD A RIVALRY LAST YEAR IN THE TRUCK SERIES, BUT BESIDES AN INCIDENT AT ROCKINGHAM THERE HASN'T BEEN MUCH ON-TRACK ACTION INVOLVING THE TWO OF YOU.
"Me and Jack were good friends last year. Sure, we had a run-in in the final race of the season at California. We got into each other at Rockingham this year, and everyone was saying that there was something to that, but I think that me and Jack feel each other out and we respect and understand how good of a driver both of us are. We respect each other as drivers and race each other hard but we race each other clean, too."
YOU WERE IN A SITUATION LAST YEAR WHERE YOU HAD A TEAMMATE IN TED MUSGRAVE THAT WAS EQUALLY COMPETITIVE. HAS THAT EXPERIENCE MADE THE TRANSITION TO ANOTHER COMPETITIVE TWO-TEAM OPERATION EASIER?
"Last year was really my first year of racing all year long. To me, I feel like it's natural and normal, that's the way it's supposed to be. You're supposed to have a teammate that runs well, and when you're having a rough time trying to figure something out, you can look to him for advice, and vice versa. You also have someone out there that motivates you. It just seems normal because that's what I've done the last two years."
ARE THE FORMER TRUCK SERIES COMPETITORS BRINGING AN AGGRESSIVE STYLE OVER TO THE BUSCH SERIES?
"I think maybe it's an aggressive, hungry style from all of us, but as far as more contact, I don't think there's any more contact out there. You don't see the truck guys, the guys coming from the truck series to the Busch Series, start knocking people out of the way. I don't think that's the case. I think that you're seeing Biffle, myself and Sprague that are hungry, hungry for a championship and hungry to win races. I think we just add to the people that are already there with the same fire and desire; we just add to the competition level."
WITH MORE STABILITY, IS THE CAR EASIER TO DRIVE THAN THE TRUCK, AND CAN YOU BE MORE AGGRESSIVE IN THE CAR KNOWING YOU'VE HANDLED THE TRUCK IN DICEY SITUATIONS?
"I think that as far as one being easier than the other, I think you just have to drive them different. What makes me feel so good this year versus last year is being with Harold Holly and all of the guys on the team. I have a really good relationship with Harold, and I think that probably makes it easier and me more comfortable to get behind the wheel, knowing that no matter what problems we're faced with, Harold can figure out the problem and fix it."