SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools/Cars 2 Dodge Charger) YOU'VE BEEN ON THE COCA-COLA 600 POLE ABOUT TWO DAYS NOW. HOW DOES IT FEEL? "It still feels good. We know we've got a good car. We debated on bringing the same car we ran in the ...
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools/Cars 2 Dodge Charger)
YOU'VE BEEN ON THE COCA-COLA 600 POLE ABOUT TWO DAYS NOW. HOW DOES IT FEEL? "It still feels good. We know we've got a good car. We debated on bringing the same car we ran in the Open and the all-star race back for the 600. We knew we had an even better Dodge Charger back home, and I'm glad we decided to bring this car. This is the best piece we have and that's what you bring to a place like this."
HAS THERE BEEN A LOT MORE DEMAND FOR YOUR TIME THE LAST TWO DAYS? "Yes, we've done a lot more interviews. People want to talk to me a little more. People want to hear how pumped up you are about sitting on the pole. Winning the pole was good for us, but at the same time, we didn't bring this car because we wanted to sit on the pole. We brought this car because we want to win the race. Winning the Open and getting in the all-star race last week was good for us. The pole is good for us, but we've still got the big picture in mind."
WHAT WILL BE THE FOCUS IN PRACTICE TODAY? "We want to see how the car does on the long runs so we can decide how the car needs to be at the beginning of the run to be good at the end of a long run. I think we'll be coming in several times for gas only. In that case, you almost need to see how your car is going to be in 60 laps and not just 30 like the gas will let you run. I think a fuel run will be about 34 laps."
ARE YOU READY FOR ALL THE PIT STOPS? "Yeah, we were figuring it'd be between 18 and 20 minutes if you went green before you'd be coming in for more gas. That's pretty crazy for the guys on pit road. The crew knows they've got their work cut out for them. There will be more opportunities to make more mistakes. That's something we need to be good at this weekend. We need to make fewer mistakes than anybody and keep track position, make sure I don't make mistakes getting in and out of pit road and make sure I don't speed or spin out. What's going to be difficult is when all these guys are pitting under green for gas and tires, if they get tires, say half the field pits and somebody comes in and spins out that just traps a lot of people a lap down. There's going to be so much of that this weekend with the small fuel cells."
HAVE YOU EVER FOUND OUT THE REASON FOR THE SMALLER FUEL CELLS? "No, I'm still questioning why in the world we have smaller fuel cells in Charlotte in the first place. More chances to make mistakes, more chances to take yourself out of the race, more chances for guys to get hurt on pit road, get run over or run into, to me it's ridiculous. To me it's the same thing as the debris cautions we have when there's not a single piece of debris on the racetrack. That's just NASCAR's way of wanting to excite the crowd and make the race more interesting for them, but that's not the way to do it."
IS IT 42 CARS AGAINST THE 48? "I don't think so. We had a good car in the all-star race the other night. We got a lap down early and couldn't get that back. We could still run lap times equal to if not better than Jimmie at the end of that race. I think Jimmie and his guys are good and they've got a bull's-eye on their back because they've been so good here. Ten other guys out there have bull's-eyes on their backs as far as we're concerned. I'm going to be racing my teammates and the Hendrick cars and the Roush cars. The dominant forces will be the bigger, stronger teams that have been strong everywhere, not just here. I think Jimmie is just one car out out one of those teams."
HOW'S YOUR CONFIDENCE NOW COMPARED TO A MONTH AGO? "It's a lot better. I think we put a lot of emphasis and thought into this race. We wanted to make sure we were strong. We've had good cars and we've been running well. We just haven't been able to have the kind of finishes we need to be having right now, and that's just because we keep making mistakes. I make mistakes. The team keeps making small mistakes. I think the confidence we've gained in the past week is going to help us be more focused and keep those mistakes away."
IS MAKING THE CHASE STILL THE ULTIMATE GOAL? "That's what we want to do, but we're not focusing on The Chase right now. We're focusing on one race at a time. Victory lane would do us wonders. If we could get ourselves into victory lane, that would be such an accomplishment for a brand new team. That would catapult our confidence that much more. When you start finishing in the top five week in and week out, then you can start looking at points."
AFTER SUNDAY ONLY 14 RACES REMAIN TO QUALIFY FOR THE CHASE. IS THAT IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND? "Not really. I guess starting off with a new team and missing the Daytona race, we're just focusing on running well and trying to be there at the end and being competitive. We just want to be in the top five week in and week out. Then we'll worry about where the points fall."
YOU'VE SAID YOU CAN WIN THE 600. WOULD IT TAKE A PERFECT RACE? "It just has to be a mistake-free race, not really perfect. We're still going to be chasing track conditions. Our car is not going to be perfect every single run. There will be times when I have to fight it and know when to push it and when to give a little bit to the guys around me. In all reality, if have to make the fewest mistakes and if possible none and try to be there at the end."
WILL IT BE IMPORTANT TO LEAD THE FIRST LAP? "Not really. We think we can, but the lap we want to lead is the last one."