Indianapolis: Scott Riggs race report

At Indy, Riggs Wins Race Within the Race SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Scott Riggs drove the No. 66 State Water Heaters Chevy to a 25th-place finish in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Sunday and in the process regained a Top-35 position in the Sprint...

At Indy, Riggs Wins Race Within the Race

SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Scott Riggs drove the No. 66 State Water Heaters Chevy to a 25th-place finish in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Sunday and in the process regained a Top-35 position in the Sprint Cup Series owner points.

On a day when tire issues overshadowed NASCAR's 15th annual event at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway Riggs and team combined tactical driving and quick pit stops to improve their finish by 10 positions over their 35th-place spot on the starting grid.

"Out of necessity, our focus for the past few weeks has been to get back into the Top-35 in owner points," Riggs said. "With the tire problems at Indy today we needed to be conservative on the track and keep our eyes on the big picture. The goal is always to cross the finish line first, but there are always races with the race and today we were able to win ours."

NASCAR brought the field to caution six times during the course of the race for teams to change tires because they were wearing to the threads in less than 20 laps. Combined with five other cautions, 11 in all, 52 of the race's 160 laps were run under the yellow flag.

When the third caution of the day came out on Lap 30, crew chief Bootie Barker instructed Riggs to stay on the track rather than pit with the other cars on the lead lap.

The strategy allowed Riggs to be the leader on Lap 31 and earn five crucial bonus points.

Barker called for air pressure adjustments on ensuing pit stops to help balance the handling on the No. 66 Impala SS and when necessary Riggs eased up on the throttle to conserve the little tread left on his tires.

"I could tell when the right rear was starting to go away because it caused a vibration," Riggs said. "So it was necessary to ease off a bit to make it to the next competition caution. The whole race you're just waiting for it to blow but thankfully ours never did."

The No. 66 is now 35th in the owners' point standings, 14 points ahead of the 36th-place team, and will have a guaranteed starting spot in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono next Sunday.

"We need a good run at Pocono to build on what we've accomplished," Riggs said. "Qualifying on time every week is hard, both mentally and competitively. It wears on your nerves and takes the teams focus away from race preparation. I'm very glad we're back in and now we've go to stay there."

-credit: haas cnc racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Scott Riggs