Riggs Preseason Tunder - Dodge interview

SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger) NOTE: Riggs posted the fastest lap in morning testing Tuesday with a lap of 185.345 mph. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THE FASTEST LAP IN TESTING AT DIS? "It's pretty windy out there, so...

SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)

NOTE: Riggs posted the fastest lap in morning testing Tuesday with a lap of 185.345 mph.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THE FASTEST LAP IN TESTING AT DIS? "It's pretty windy out there, so it's not as fast as it was yesterday. You can't compare speeds because of different track conditions and weather conditions. It's good to see we can be the fastest under these conditions this week. It makes us feel like we've got a top 10 car. If we can qualify in the top 10 and hold that position somewhere in the top 10 for the 150s I think we'll be securely in the show for the 500 and that's the main thing. A lot of teams come down here and don't show all their cards. Some teams come down and lay the spoiler back too far or get way out of line as far as the rules and regulations just to put down a good number. The situation we're in, we're down here trying to make our car absolutely as fast as it can be so we know when we come back we're not fooling ourselves. Right now, we're just like we'd be if we were going to push out on the racetrack and go racing. We're not fooling ourselves. I think anybody who's holding anything back or is doing something they know they can't get away with when they come back down here for the race, they're just fooling themselves.

"I think if we were in a situation where we were trying to impress the sponsor, a lot of people use the press and try to put up a good number to impress the sponsor. The good thing about Valvoline is they've been in the sport for a long time. They don't care what the speed chart says in practice. They don't care about that. The only publicity they want is sitting in victory lane and winning races. That's my feeling as well. That's something we share."

HOW MANY TESTS HAVE YOU BEEN TO WITH THE NEW TEAM? "We went to Kentucky and Charlotte for a Goodyear test last year and then we went to Kentucky again in the early part of January. It's hard to compare a Chevrolet to a Dodge. It's really more about comparing teams. I think my first comment about the car when we went to the first Kentucky test was I asked them if the car was legal -- motor, body, everything. They laughed. They told me it was their oldest chassis and one of the oldest bodies in the shop. As soon as we got back from the test they cut that body off. That was probably the biggest compliment to them to hear a driver so happy about the car to ask if it was really legal and it was good for me to hear it was the worst piece they had."

HOW IMPORTANT WILL THE LAS VEGAS TEST BE AT THE END OF THE MONTH? "That will be a good test for us. Kentucky has been good to us to figure out a lot of different feels and to figure out the team chemistry. When we go to Vegas it'll be time to put it all together. Everyone knows their job. Everyone knows each other. The chemistry is there. Everybody is getting along. Now it's time to go there and see how fast we can make it and how we stack up to the best of the best."

COMMENT ON YOUR CREW CHIEF RODNEY CHILDERS "We used to race against each other. Rodney is someone who came up through go-kart racing, and he was very successful with his go-kart racing. He moved into late model stock racing, and I spent about five years in that before I figured out what it was all about. There was a big learning curve there for me. About the time I started coming into my own and Rodney started coming into his own and we started being two top competitors, we raced against each other and won a lot of the big late model races at the time. We always had mutual respect for each other. As a person he always seemed to be straight forward. He was a racer at heart. He was focused on racing, and we had a lot in common in that area. We were both drivers who were our own crew chiefs. We made all the calls and knew all the cars inside and outs -- the whys, the whats and what ifs. We were answering those questions ourselves. To have someone you felt was equal to you in all aspects of their thought and focus, to have that person now as a crew chief is unbelievable. You know he's going to give his all no matter what it takes and never doubt what you say or what you feel. In return, I think Rodney gets someone that he never has to think that I'm confused about what I'm saying or I might not give 100 percent. He knows when that cars goes on the racetrack and I'm in it that whatever you get speedwise that's what you get. That's all anybody can do. Having confidence in each other and taking any second thoughts out of the equation completely makes it easier to focus on your job when you've got confidence in your partner doing what he has to do. Last year he was my car chief for 13 races and then he was named my crew chief. We spent some time last year searching and trying to figure out why we weren't competitive, why the cars were inconsistent. I think we learned a lot of fundaments there and then to come here to Evernham Motorsports and see so much research and development and have so many answers right at our fingertips and to have so many good people to find out the answers to our questions, it's really going to be fun this year. It's already been fun. The sky is the limit right now."

HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WORK WITH JEREMY AND KASEY YET? "I had a pretty good friendship with them on and off the track the past couple of years. After I signed on with Evernham last year, I had a chance to spend a little more time with them and do some photo shoots together. You spend a day with each other doing photo shoots and everything sort of comes out in the open and you get a chance to figure out each other's personalities. I don't think it could be a better mixture. Jeremy has so much experience and is so laid back and down to earth and funny and laughs all the time. Kasey is sort of timid and quiet, young. He's really focused, but a lot of times Kasey doesn't know... A lot of times Jeremy makes a lot of funny comments and sometimes you wonder if Kasey really gets it. I feel like I'm a good middle man. It seems like when we all get together we play off each other really well."

WHERE DOES RAY EVERNHAM FIT IN WITH HIS THREE DRIVERS? "Ray is the kind of guy who can flip the lightswitch and be super serious and focused but at the same time he can cut up and laugh and make everyone feel good, too. Having an owner who has so much responsibility and authority over your team and your career and have a proven winner and racer at heart is a perfect match. You've always got someone you can go to and ask technical questions. No matter what it is he'll understand it and be able to shed some kind of light on it."

DIDN'T YOU RUN SECOND TO JEREMY AT MICHIGAN LAST YEAR? "I did. I was catching Jeremy pretty good at the end of the race and he knew it. At the end of the race I congratulated him, and I think he was the first one to congratulate me the next week. He told me that they snookered 'em on gas mileage and we laughed about it."

WILL YOUR 10A CAR BE FOR THE 500 AND 10B FOR THE SHOOTOUT? "Probably the older car (10b) will be used in the Shootout. I'm happy with both cars. The backup car was Kasey's car last year. We know for a fact it should be a little slower motor wise. We were a little off on the chassis dyno before we brought it down, so we knew it would be a little slower. Actually we're pretty impressed with the speed it's been able to run because it was built so differently from the new car. I think we've got two cars that are pretty equal. If we took the motor out of the A car and put it in the B car, it would be right together."

WILL THE DAYTONA 500 BE A MOTOR BATTLE? "It's about the car and who can build it as slick as possible with the least amount of drag, but when you come to a restrictor-plate race the other big factor is horsepower. One or two horsepower can be a huge difference at a place like this. I can't remember exactly the ratio, but you can measure horsepower and speed. It's maybe two horsepower is worth a tenth of a second, and when you're knocking off a tenth you're dropping five-10 positions pretty quick. Last year we had Hendrick engines. We had good horsepower. It was just a shame we couldn't get the car through the corner as well as we should have been able to for the past couple of years. Evernham Motors are developing so fast and picking up the pace, that so far, I haven't been to a test where we had the new style engine. They haven't built up enough bulk in the latest and greatest yet to be able to have them for test motors. We're probably 20-30 horsepower off when we go testing. I haven't really felt a full head of steam yet. I think Hendrick has such a huge supply and demand that they have a huge amount of engines available. Even their test engines should be within a couple horsepower of their race engines."

WHAT WILL YOU WORK ON TODAY AND TOMORROW AT DIS? "It'll just be more trial and error. We'll keep a good baseline for the car. With the wind blowing so hard it's difficult to determine if something helps you or hurts you. We'll keep trying different things. If you had another day or another month, you'd keep trying different things. The good thing is we're at the top now and we still feel we've got a marginal area of improvement as far as things we can do to make it better."

TALK ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND "My weekend is planned and my entire next week is pretty much planned. They're going to induce labor on my wife, Jai, Friday. We're supposed to have a girl. Who ever really knows until it's here, but it looks like a girl. We're going to name her Skyler. My son Lane is three and a half. I've been through having a child before, but I don't know if I realize what I'm about to encounter with a three-year-old and a newborn. I'm a good diaper changer, or at least I was. I'm sure I'll be getting a lot of practice real soon."

-dodge motorsports-

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Series NASCAR Cup