Riggs Marks RCR Debut with Top-Ten Finish in Zaxby's Chevrolet at Nashville LEBANON, Tenn. (June 5, 2010) -- Veteran NASCAR driver Scott Riggs, making his Richard Childress Racing debut in the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet, posted a solid...
Riggs Marks RCR Debut with Top-Ten Finish in Zaxby's Chevrolet at Nashville
LEBANON, Tenn. (June 5, 2010) -- Veteran NASCAR driver Scott Riggs, making his Richard Childress Racing debut in the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet, posted a solid ninth-place finish in Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.
The finish increased car owner Richard Childress' spot in the NNS Owners' Point Standings by three positions, to 17th.
Riggs, a veteran driver in each of NASCAR's top-three touring divisions, entered the race weekend with three previous wins at Nashville Superspeedway, including two in the NNS series, but no previous starts for RCR.
The Nashville race weekend began on Friday with two NNS practice sessions, where Riggs posted the 21st and 25th-fastest times, respectively. Unsatisfied with the car's speed and handling, the Zaxby's team, led by crew chief Dan Deeringhoff, immediately began searching for ways to make the car race ready.
The team's hard work paid off as Riggs was able to earn a ninth-place starting berth during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Starting on the inside of row five in front of an estimated 17,500 race fans, Riggs worked with spotter PJ Bryant to avoid trouble early in the race, and the team easily settled into the top 10 with the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet.
Although he was running in the top 10, Riggs battled a loose racecar throughout the early stages of the race, so Deeringhoff and the Zaxby's team took advantage of a lap-63 caution to make a trip down pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments.
The team pitted again for tires, fuel and adjustments aimed at improving the handling of the racecar on laps 85, 107 and 168. Riggs remained in or near the top 10 the entire time.
The Zaxby's Chevrolet's handling gradually began to improve and Riggs was able to gain several positions on the racetrack, working his way in to the top five. He was running fifth when the caution flag was displayed for the eighth and final time of the race on lap 199. Deeringhoff and Riggs immediately began talking strategy on the radio and determined that they would pit for right-side tires and a splash of fuel, but only if the leaders were pitting.
When pit road opened, Deeringhoff made the call to stay out but Riggs had already passed the commitment line and therefore had no choice but to come down pit road. The Zaxby's team quickly serviced the Chevy with right-side tires and fuel, however, Riggs lost several positions on the racetrack and restarted the race 11th on lap 202.
With less than 13 laps remaining, Riggs knew it was "go" time. The Zaxby's Chevy was tight following the final pit stop, but Riggs was able to navigate his way around the concrete Nashville Superspeedway and pass several cars to post a ninth-place finish.
Brad Keselowski earned his third NNS victory of 2010, while Carl Edwards finished second. Paul Menard, Justin Allgaier and Mike Bliss rounded out the top five.
The next NASCAR Nationwide Series race is the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 12.
"Dan [Deeringhoff, crew chief] made the call to stay out during that last round of pit stops, but I was already past the commitment line and therefore had to pit. It's a shame because it cost us a lot of track position that we just couldn't make up. I am so thankful for the opportunity to drive this Zaxby's Chevrolet for RCR. The team did a great job and I was impressed at how much they were able to improve the car from the first practice session to race time."