DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 16, 2001) - Scott Riggs removed all doubt as to what he could do given the right opportunity and good equipment in Friday's Florida Dodge Dealer's 250 at Daytona International Speedway. "I learned a lot ...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 16, 2001) - Scott Riggs removed all doubt as to what he could do given the right opportunity and good equipment in Friday's Florida Dodge Dealer's 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
"I learned a lot today," said Riggs, who drove his Team ASE/Carquest Auto Parts Dodge to a third-place finish in the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. "I tried to bide my time all day. I got shuffled back from the lead a couple of times, but was able to work my way back to the front every time. The draft means so much and it all depends on the right situation and being in the right spot at the right time. Sometimes it's hard to get there. We learned all we could today and to come out of it with a third-place finish and as much valuable information as we gathered, I'm tickled."
The fight for the win came down to the final lap with Riggs, Joe Ruttman and Ricky Hendrick all battling for the lead. Riggs and his Team ASE/Carquest got a run off Turn 2 and pulled up to challenge Hendrick for the second spot. While the two young drivers battled side-by-side, Ruttman was able to slip away for the win while Hendrick nipped Riggs for second in a photo finish.
"We tried the old Daytona slingshot move on the final lap," said Riggs, who was making his first-ever DIS start. "I was hoping Ricky would make a move on Joe, but he stayed in line. If he makes a move, I think we have the momentum to win the race. Unfortunately, he didn't, and we wound up racing for second. We just missed it at the finish, but I couldn't be happier. We had a lot of people from ASE and Carquest here today and it really means the world to me to put on a good show and run well for them. I can't thank them enough."
Riggs started on the outside of the front row and immediately put his Team ASE/Carquest Dodge on the point for several laps. After falling back to fourth on the restart following the second caution of the afternoon, Riggs hooked up with his Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave to stay either in or near the lead throughout the first half of the 100-lap event.
Riggs' only real trouble came after he overshot his pit during one of the several yellow flags that punctuated the race. Fortunately, quick thinking and even quicker work by his Ultra Motorsports team minimized what Riggs called a "rookie mistake."
"Because of those guys we gained positions every time we came in the pits," said Riggs of his team led by crew chief Timmy Kohuth. "That's what its all about, being in the right position with the right team. We lost a couple positions when I overshot my pit. I didn't judge it right and overshot it. I thought I could get it slowed down there and I couldn't and that cost us some time in the pits. We made it back up, but I don't like to make mistakes. The only person that needs to do any learning and get better is me."
While Riggs was his toughest critic, Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith was quick to heap high praise on his young driver after the race.
"Scott did a great job today," said Smith. "He's a rookie (at Daytona) and made a couple rookie mistakes, but he came back from those mistakes. He put himself way back in the field and worked his way back to the front. Andy Hillenburg did a great job spotting and keeping him in line. Scott is a great learner and I think when he comes back here, he'll be smarter than he was today."
Riggs and the No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Ram will next take on the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 Sunday, March 4. The event will be telecast live on ESPN with the green flag falling at noon Eastern Time.