CREW CHIEF DECISION LIFTS RIGGS TO CAREER-BEST FINISH BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2005) -- Scott Riggs found himself in position to win Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway, but when the checkered flag flew, Riggs crossed the finish...
CREW CHIEF DECISION LIFTS RIGGS TO CAREER-BEST FINISH
BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2005) -- Scott Riggs found himself in position to win Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway, but when the checkered flag flew, Riggs crossed the finish line in second place, his career-best result as a Nextel Cup driver.
Riggs' drive to the front in his No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet came as a result of a calculated fuel-mileage decision by crew chief Rodney Childers.
During the last caution of the 200-lap, 400-mile race, Childers radioed Riggs to come down pit road one more time to top off the fuel tank in the event the race stayed green for the final 51 laps. It was the right call because the race did indeed stay green as Riggs drove from 29th in track position to a runner-up finish.
"Rodney told me there was enough fuel to finish the race and I didn't question him -- it was an excellent call," said Riggs. "I just drove the Valvoline Chevy as hard as I could. This is a great morale boost -- we've had good cars recently, but haven't gotten the results that we deserved."
When Riggs crossed the finish line 1.974 seconds behind race winner Jeremy Mayfield, he still had enough fuel in the tank for his cool-down lap.
"We have Hendrick engines and we were getting pretty good fuel mileage the entire race," explained Riggs. "I never worried about running out of fuel -- my only concern was getting to the front and taking advantage of the situation while many of the other cars were pitting for a splash of fuel. I did my best to beat Jeremy, but it wasn't in the cards. I am very happy with the result and so proud of Rodney and the entire Valvoline team. This was truly a team effort."
"We had a strong car all day," Riggs continued. "We just never could get track position. Our lap times were as good as the leaders at different times of the race. At the end, the only way we were going to get track position was to take a gamble on fuel mileage. The way our luck has been going, I thought for sure a caution was going to come out late in the race. But it didn't, and this time we got the break. And what's even more exciting is that we capitalized on it."
Riggs, whose previous best finish was fourth -- at this year's Daytona 500, is looking forward to next week's race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"I love Bristol and finished 10th there at the spring event," offered Riggs. "We have momentum and want to keep it going."