MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 18, 2004) -- A solid qualifying effort and outstanding practice times weren't enough to give Valvoline driver Scott Riggs the finish he hoped for at Martinsville Speedway. Starting from the 13th position and recording...
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 18, 2004) -- A solid qualifying effort and outstanding practice times weren't enough to give Valvoline driver Scott Riggs the finish he hoped for at Martinsville Speedway.
Starting from the 13th position and recording eighth and 20th place finishes in Saturday's practices, Riggs had confidence that he could bring the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet across the finish line with a strong finish in Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500. Luck, however, wasn't on his side -- he finished 28th.
Early in the 500-lap event, Riggs was spun from behind by Michael Waltrip as the two drove down the front stretch of the historic half-mile short track. Riggs was able to save the car from significant damage but lost valuable track position in his quest for a solid result.
The bad luck continued on lap 255 when Riggs reported to his crew the Valvoline Chevy was having trouble with power and suggested the alternator may be to blame. During the next caution, he brought his race machine down pit road where the team changed the battery on the No. 10 car and began devising a plan to decide whether to exchange the alternator or continue to replace batteries throughout the race.
They would have plenty of time to think it over. Shortly after the team changed the first battery in the Valvoline machine, NASCAR brought out a red flag, freezing the field for nearly 90 minutes while track and series officials worked to correct a problem with loose concrete on the race track.
When Riggs returned to his machine, crew members were able to evaluate the problem and come up with the best solution before the restart of the race.
"We lost an alternator belt during the race and it was draining the battery," Riggs explained. "We decided it would take too much time to replace any parts, so we opted to keep changing batteries throughout the race. Either tactic would have resulted in loss of laps. It was definitely the right call.
"We had a rough day," continued Riggs. "We got caught up in some bad luck early and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of our day. The frustrating part is that when we were on the race track, we had some good lap times and that was overlooked and overshadowed by everything else. It's just a shame we weren't in the position to capitalize on the good car we had this weekend."
The NEXTEL Cup Series will head to Alabama Sunday (April 25) where they will compete in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The race will be broadcast live on FOX at 1 p.m. EDT.