GLADEVILLE, Tenn. * Scott Riggs led 131 of 150 laps of Friday's Federated Auto Parts 200 to record his fourth victory of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. Riggs, who led the inaugural series race at Nashville Superspeedway by nine...
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. * Scott Riggs led 131 of 150 laps of Friday's Federated Auto Parts 200 to record his fourth victory of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
Riggs, who led the inaugural series race at Nashville Superspeedway by nine seconds after his final pit stop, saw his margin over Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave shrink to a half-dozen truck lengths at the checkered flag.
The winner's Dodge averaged 132.466 mph for the 200-mile distance as just two caution flags - none after the 34th lap - slowed the pace of Riggs' Team ASE Racing Dodge. The victory was worth $44,635 plus a $10,000 bonus from sponsor Craftsman for winning from the Bud pole.
"I had plenty of cushion," said Riggs, reflecting on Musgrave's last-ditch charge, "but I kept charging as hard as I could. I'd felt Ted putting the heat on me early so I knew he had a strong truck. "The guys did a great job and unloaded a brand new truck that they worked long hours to get ready just to come here. We had heard all the horror stories about this track but Nashville Superspeedway did a great job getting the surface ground and getting some texture to it. I saw a lot of trucks get way out of the groove but have no trouble catching it and bringing it back under control." Riggs previously won at Nashville*s sister track, Dover Downs International Speedway * another concrete surfaced venue * on June 2.
Musgrave, who also has won four times in 2001, spent extra time on pit road while his crew unhooked the rear sway bar of his Mopar Performance Dodge during his final stop on the 94th lap. "We were pretty close * I was half a second faster than Scott at the end," Musgrave said. "But there were a couple lapped trucks running side by side and they held me up. The truck was good and we made a major adjustment on the last stop and put four tires on. That took four or five seconds and that was difference between me and Scott."
Rick Crawford finished third in his Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford, the final driver to complete the full race distance. Joe Ruttman was fourth in the DANA Corporation Dodge, followed by Travis Kvapil, who overcame an early brush with the Turn 4 wall to recover from a 24th-place restart on lap 13.
Terry Cook, Greg Biffle, Dennis Setzer, Lance Norick and Coy Gibbs completed the top-10 finishers.
Ruttman, who entered the race 17 points behind Jack Sprague in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings, exited the season's 16th race with a lead of 32 over Riggs. Sprague's NetZero Platinum Chevrolet suffered an electrical problem on the warm-up laps and was 11 laps behind the field after the Hendrick Motorsports crew replaced a coil wire.
Sprague, who finished 21st, slipped to third place in the pints, 11 behind Riggs.
The race saw seven drivers trade the lead nine times with most of the changes coming during a second round of pit stops under green at the two-thirds mark. Riggs, who'd finished out of the top 20 in four of his most recent seven starts, headed the field four times.
Riggs headed the first five laps, slowed to allow Musgrave to pick up five bonus points, then regained the advantage he held until pitting on lap 30. Hendrick and Amick, among four drivers who didn*t pit, each headed four of the next eight laps. Riggs regained the helm on lap 39 and stayed there until the green flag pit cycle allowed Biffle, Crawford and Kvapil to head the field.
He took command for the final time on lap 103 when Kvapil's CAT Rental Store Chevrolet made its final pit stop. Riggs' last victory came July 14 at Kentucky Speedway.
Crawford made the biggest gain at the finish, moving up from a start of 13th. Ruttman, who went to pit road early when a suspension bar on his truck broke, moved up steadily from 23rd-place following the race's first caution - triggered by his teammate Bill Lester's brush with the front stretch wall. The only other caution, also for five laps, came on lap 30 when Jerry Hill's Chevrolet suffered engine failure and stalled in Turn 2. Ruttman overhauled for the No. 4 spot late in the race, passing the Nashville Superspeedway NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National winner on lap 143. Biffle, the defending NCTS champion, tried to regain the position a lap later, only to slap the outside wall at the exit of Turn 2. The miscue cost Biffle two more positions, to Kvapil and Cook.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next moves to Chicago Motor Speedway for the Aug. 18 Sears Craftsman 175.