SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2004) - Scott Riggs is adding a new dimension to his rookie-year learning curve when he heads to Infineon Raceway this weekend to pilot the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet in NASCAR's first road race of the season. Aside...
SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2004) - Scott Riggs is adding a new dimension to his rookie-year learning curve when he heads to Infineon Raceway this weekend to pilot the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet in NASCAR's first road race of the season.
Aside from test sessions, Riggs, one of six rookies in the 2004 class, has never driven on a road course in the Nextel Cup Series. Fortunately for him, road-racing specialist Boris Said accompanied the Valvoline team on two of those practice trips, which included time at Infineon Raceway and Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Said, who will drive the No. 36 Team CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports in Sunday's event, has helped coach Riggs in a way that Riggs describes as invaluable.
"I've got an incredible coach in Boris," offered Riggs, whose only road-course start is in the Craftsman Truck Series and resulted in a 24th-place finish at Watkin's Glen in 2000. "We tested in Sonoma after the Fontana race and a couple of times at VIR and Boris really helped me out. He's truly an expert when it comes to road course racing, so having him around has been invaluable.
"I followed Boris around the track for several laps to really see where I needed to do what," Riggs continued. "When you're on a road course, being an inch off your mark can really affect your race. On circle tracks, you've got room to give - a foot here, a couple feet there. But on a road course, you can miss your mark by a couple of inches and find yourself spinning through the grass."
Said believes that while Infineon Raceway is one of the toughest road courses, Riggs is up to the challenge.
"Sonoma is a tough place for any rookie, but Scott's made a lot of gains in testing," explained Said. "Infineon is a hard course because it's so technical. There isn't much room for error. I know Scott's up for the task though."
While Riggs is looking forward to his first competition at the track, he's aware the weekend will be a challenge.
"Infineon Raceway is a unique track," said Riggs. "You're constantly thinking about the turn coming up - there isn't much downtime to collect yourself before the next thing happens. You always have to be on your toes, even more so than on a short track.
"It will be a good experience," continued Riggs. "Every rookie has to go through this in their Nextel Cup career, so it will be interesting to see how we all do this weekend. Hopefully we can finish the race, add another solid result to our resume and gain some experience for Watkin's Glen later in the summer."
Sunday's event will be televised on FOX beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m. EDT.