Chicago race report

Riggs Wins Nascar Craftsman Trucks Again, This Time With An Assist From Pits And A Rival CICERO, Ill. - Scott Riggs, who at best had a truck capable of finishing among the top five, outsmarted his rivals on pit road to win Saturday's NASCAR...

Riggs Wins Nascar Craftsman Trucks Again, This Time With An Assist From Pits And A Rival

CICERO, Ill. - Scott Riggs, who at best had a truck capable of finishing among the top five, outsmarted his rivals on pit road to win Saturday's NASCAR Sears Craftsman 175 race at Chicago Motor Speedway.

Riggs, who eked out a 0.281-second victory over Dennis Setzer - about a truck length -chose to take fuel only when he pitted his Team ASE Racing Dodge for the final time on the 147th of 175 laps. The move boosted Riggs from sixth to second-place behind leader Kyle Busch who chose not to come down pit road.

Busch, a 16-year-old Las Vegas high school junior bidding to become NASCAR's youngest national race winner, then ran out of gas on lap 163 as the field prepared to restart from the race's fifth caution.

That handed Riggs the keys to his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series leading fifth win of the season. The victory, worth $45,260, boosted the North Carolina native back into the series championship lead by a single point over previous leader and pole starter Joe Ruttman.

Ruttman, one of eight drivers to swap the lead 12 times, finished eighth. The point lead changed for the fourth time in as many races, matching a series record.

Riggs, who started 11th, became the first driver to win a race from a starting position outside the top 10 since Aug. 28, 1999 when Mike Bliss won from the No. 15 position at Topeka, Kan. He averaged a race record 92.511 mph.

"(Crew chief) Tim Kohuth asked me if I needed tires and I told him no, just gas it and we'll go," said Riggs of the winning strategy.

Setzer, who led once, glued his ACXIOM/Computer Associates Chevrolet Silverado to the tailgate of Riggs' truck following the final restart with seven laps remaining. That, however, was a close as he could get.

"It was unfortunate, right there at the end we came in and put some tires on it and we needed a few laps to get them worked in," said Setzer. "It wound up being a (long) caution and we ran short of what we hoped to get."

Lance Norick, in the Aventis Behring Choice Chevrolet, finished a career best third after a fuel- only call by crew chief John Monsam on lap 147. Raybestos rookie-of-the-year leader Travis Kvapil was fourth in his CAT Rental Store Chevy, trailed by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford F-150 truck of Rick Crawford who led a race high 60 laps.

Crawford took the position in a side-by-side photo finish over Terry Cook - by two-thousandths of a second or three and one-half inches.

Ted Musgrave, Ruttman, Jack Sprague and Brendan Gaughan finished seventh Tthrough 10th. hirteen of 27 finishers completed all 175 laps.

Ruttman, Sprague and Crawford exchanged the lead four times over the race's first 14 laps. Musgrave, who started fourth, took his Mopar Performance Dodge to the front on the 15th circuit and held a more than eight-second lead when caution for Willy T. Ribbs' Turn 3 accident erased the advantage.

It also concluded Musgrave's domination as the lap 69 pit stop dropped the Chicago native from first to seventh-place.

Sprague, whose NetZero Platinum Chevrolet was among the field*s strongest, wrested the lead from Crawford on lap 85 but spun out between the first and second turns a split second later as Crawford sought to return the favor from the high groove. His truck suffered rear end damage after being tapped by Busch's closely following Ford and no longer was a factor.

Crawford and Setzer then engaged in a nose-to-tail battle, with Musgrave just behind, until lap 157 when Larry Gunselman hit the wall at the exit of Turn 4 to bring out the fifth caution.

The ensuing pit stops brought young Busch to the helm, where he held his own under intense pressure from Memphis winner Setzer. In fact, had the youngster*s fuel held out, Busch likely would have wound up in the victory circle celebration.

"We wouldn't have made it anyway," he said, "but we made a statement."

Of course, it was a what-if day for Setzer, as well.

"We were leading the race before the caution came out," he observed. "I think we really had a truck to race with them today.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series concludes four consecutive weekends of competition Aug. 26 in the Chevy Silverado 200 at Nazareth Speedway. The results:


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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Larry Gunselman , Lance Norick , Rick Crawford , Scott Riggs , Joe Ruttman , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Bliss , Willy T. Ribbs , Kyle Busch , Travis Kvapil