Michigan II: Scott Riggs race report

DESPITE STRONG RUN, RIGGS FINISHES 19TH AT MICHIGAN BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 22, 2004) -- It was one of those up-and-down days for Scott Riggs, who settled for a 19th-place finish in Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 after running in the top-10...

DESPITE STRONG RUN, RIGGS FINISHES 19TH AT MICHIGAN

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 22, 2004) -- It was one of those up-and-down days for Scott Riggs, who settled for a 19th-place finish in Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 after running in the top-10 throughout the better part of the event.

The Valvoline Chevrolet driver experienced a number of twists and turns during the Michigan International Speedway event, and in the end, it was an electrical problem and a green-flag pit stop that cost the rookie driver a top-10 finish.

Riggs started the 200-lap, 400-mile event 31st after rain canceled Thursday's qualifying session and forced NASCAR to set the 43-car field by Nextel Cup Series owner points. When the rookie driver took the green flag at the two-mile oval, he quickly started passing competitors and picked up 10 spots in the first 10 laps.

"We had a good car," said Riggs. "As soon as I took the green flag, I started passing people. We were a little loose or a little tight at times, but for the most part, we were just fast."

When a caution flag flew on lap 72, Riggs had settled into the top-10 and crew chief Doug Randolph elected to pick up track position by staying out. On the ensuing restart, Riggs took the and led the 43-car field around the racetrack for several laps.

"It was good to run up front," explained Riggs. "We got there because we had a good car. Even when we lost the lead, we stayed in the top-five-- this Valvoline team deserves a lot of credit for that."

Riggs continued to run up front until lap 130, when the final yellow-flag caution came out and Riggs reported a possible battery problem to the crew.

"I had some kind of electrical problem going on there so we were crossing our fingers we wouldn't lose power," Riggs said. "I came into the pits on the next to last stop and the car stalled and cut off. It wouldn't spin over, it wouldn't do anything. It was like I had no power at all. I had to flip my battery switch around and I flipped all the switches I had and all of a sudden I had power again. I cranked it up and took off."

The time lost on pit road proved costly, and Riggs dropped to 18th. Then, with 65 laps making up the final green-flag run, Randolph gambled on the team's final pit stop, hoping to get that track position back.

"We just took a chance there at the end hoping a caution would come out," offered Riggs, who led seven laps while waiting for that yellow flag. "We could go a lot farther on gas than everyone else so we didn't come in and pit when the leaders did. We stayed out, led a few more laps, and hoped for a caution, but we didn't get one and it cost us several positions.

"That's the way our luck has gone this season --I'm sure if we had short-pitted, the yellow flag would've flown."

Riggs eventually pitted, took two tires, and returned to the field.

"I hate that we didn't have the finish we deserved again," Riggs continued. "Everybody is doing a good job on the Valvoline Chevrolet by giving us good cars and great pit stops. We're getting better and we led some laps. We've just have to get to the checkered flag with that good finish."

The next stop for the Nextel Cup Series is the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The event will be broadcast live Saturday (Aug. 28) on TNT at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

-vr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Scott Riggs