RIGGS MOST IMPROVED AMONG NEXTEL CUP DRIVERS MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 5, 2005) --Statistics don't lie and that is a good thing for Scott Riggs, who has shown the most improvement among Nextel Cup drivers who competed full time in 2004. After...
RIGGS MOST IMPROVED AMONG NEXTEL CUP DRIVERS
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 5, 2005) --Statistics don't lie and that is a good thing for Scott Riggs, who has shown the most improvement among Nextel Cup drivers who competed full time in 2004.
After the first five races of the current season, Riggs is 14th in the driver point standings. That is 20 spots better than his 34th-place position during the same time period last year.His final standing in his 2004rookie campaign was 29th.
To further show Riggs' 180-degree turnaround, the Valvoline Chevrolet driver has produced three top-10 finishes in the first five races, which is already one more top 10 than he had in the entire 36-race schedule last year.
"To say this year has gone differently from last year is a gross understatement," explained Riggs. "We not only have new cars this season, but we've got new people in place on the team. With that comes a new confidence and ultimately, better results."
The Valvoline team has competed on three different types of tracks this season--superspeedway, short-track and intermediate. They have found success on each.
"One of the great things about this year has been our consistency," said Riggs. "We had a great superspeedway program last year, so we were pretty confident going to Daytona. But to turn around and run as well as we did at California, Las Vegas and Atlanta and then go to a place like Bristol and finish 10th is a sure confidence builder."
Riggs got off to a quick start in 2005, posting a career-high fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500.
An engine failure and flat tire halted solid runs in California and Las Vegas, but Riggs has come back strong with consecutive top 10sin Atlanta (ninth) and Bristol (10th).
"We have 32 races left this year and no one knows what will happen between now and then," continued Riggs. "But when you leave the race track disappointed after finishing ninth and 10th, you know you're expectations have grown and that in itself is an improvement. We aren't satisfied with top-10 finishes anymore--we want to win races."
Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the site of this week's Advance Auto Parts 500, is a track where Riggs has had previous success, including his first NASCAR win in 2001 as a driver in the Craftsman Truck Series.
"We're looking forward to going back to Martinsville," said Riggs. "We had a good test there last year and have some good notes to take back with us. We hope to improve this year because we've been working a lot better on our cars. I think we have a good set up so we'll go and try to survive another one. Top 10s or better the next two races are going to be important for us to be able to stay in the running in the points."
Regarding back-to-back short-track racing, Riggs said, "There's a good side to going to short tracks back-to-back. It would be hard to go from Talladega to Martinsville or be at a 1.5-mile track and then come to Bristol.I think it's good to have the short tracks together-- it should be easier for the drivers and the teams to stay in a rhythm."