Rookie Stripe Takes on More Meaning For Riggs at Homestead-Miami Speedway HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2004) - Despite it being the last stop on the 2004 Nextel Cup circuit, when it comes to Homestead-Miami Speedway, Valvoline driver Scott Riggs...
Rookie Stripe Takes on More Meaning For Riggs at Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2004) - Despite it being the last stop on the 2004 Nextel Cup circuit, when it comes to Homestead-Miami Speedway, Valvoline driver Scott Riggs feels as much like a rookie as he has all season. That's because when he heads to the track for Sunday's Ford 400, he will be venturing onto a surface in which he has little experience.
As many remember, Riggs was one of five drivers in contention for the 2003 Busch Series Championship heading into last season's finale. However on the first lap of the 200-lap event, his machine was hit from behind and sent spinning into the outside retaining wall and dashing his hopes of a victory.
Riggs did collect a 17th place finish in his first and only other visit to the 1.5-mile oval (2001), however the racetrack was reconfigured before last year's championship weekend, creating a completely new path for the drivers.
"I probably have the least amount of laps at Homestead as anyone," said Riggs, one of five rookies in the 2004 class. "Last year was disappointing. I only got one real lap under my belt before we got taken out."
Riggs does recall a few details from the test session his Busch Series team participated in last season, but knows the Valvoline crew will lean on its teammate to get started this weekend.
"This is one of those situations where you look to your teammates to help you get off on the right foot," offered Riggs. "Joe and Ryan (teammate Joe Nemechek and his crew chief Ryan Pemberton) have found a combination at these mile-and-a-half tracks that works for them and hopefully that will give us a good place to start this weekend."
The Valvoline team has had strong runs at several of NASCAR's intermediate tracks this season but has been unable to collect the solid finishes.
"I have confidence that we'll be able to use the help we get from the Army team and our notes from similar tracks to find a good combination for this weekend," he said. "If we can do that, we can pick up a good finish and end the season on a high note."
Sunday's event will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST.