BUSCH: Daytona Test: Ford Racing - Scott Riggs interview

Busch Series Open Test Session January 25, 2002 Daytona International Speedway Scott Riggs, participating in his third test session since joining ppc Racing and the Busch Series ranks, was one of a select few that brought only one car to the ...

Busch Series Open Test Session
January 25, 2002
Daytona International Speedway

Scott Riggs, participating in his third test session since joining ppc Racing and the Busch Series ranks, was one of a select few that brought only one car to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. Riggs, a 31-year-old rookie contender, spoke about the expectations of taking over the driving duties for a championship-caliber team, the role of his veteran crew chief and teammate, and differences between racing cars and trucks.

SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nesquik Ford Taurus

THIS ISN'T YOUR FIRST TEST IN THE NO. 10 CAR. "I had a chance to test with them last year before the last Rockingham race; that was the first big test that I got to go to. We felt pretty good about that because after two days, we got the car pretty good and they went back to the race track with Jeff Green and pretty much dominated the race until they ran out of gas on the last lap. That was a big confidence boost heading into this season, knowing that we would probably be able to use a lot of the notes they used last year. We were able to go to Talladega a little earlier this year, so this is my third time behind the wheel of the No. 10 Ford."

YOU COMPETED AT DAYTONA IN THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES LAST YEAR. HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE GOING FROM A TRUCK TO A CAR HERE? "The cars are lot rougher. I guess that's just the shock package and getting the cars as low to the race track as you can. After you get in and make a few laps and get used to the roughness, it's typical speedway testing. You go out there and make three laps and come back in and work on making it as free as possible and trying to get as much air around it as you can."

IN GENERAL, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CARS AND THE TRUCKS? "The two obvious differences to me are wheelbase and aerodynamics. The wheelbase is a lot shorter so there is a lot quicker reaction in the steering wheel, and aerodynamically, the cars are a lot slicker and smoother than the truck. When I went to Rockingham, I learned real quick that I had to be smoother on the steering wheel and I couldn't drive into the corner very hard because the car carries so much momentum and so much speed into the corner, where the trucks decelerate so fast."

YOU DECIDED TO BRING ONLY ONE CAR DOWN TO TESTING. WHAT PROMPTED THAT DECISION? "They've got 'Old Faithful' back home that they've had. We took both cars to Talladega and tested them, and they were pretty close and we just had some new ideas that we wanted to implement on this car; things we thought would take up the entire two days. So far, we're beating our heads against the wall because we're slowing down, speeding up and slowing down. We just can't seem to stay consistent between runs. There seems to be a window there that we can't break through."

HAS IT BEEN A BENEFIT TESTING IN THE SECOND SESSION, ESPECIALLY SINCE YOUR TEAMMATE WAS HERE FOR THE FIRST ONE? "I think that having Jason here at the beginning of the week helped because they were able to test some chassis setups and rule some things out. That saved us some time and that's the benefit of having two teams. We're here trying to build on that knowledge, and, hopefully, we can come out of here with a notebook two times the size of other teams."

YOU'RE STEPPING INTO PROVEN EQUIPMENT AS A ROOKIE. DO YOU FEEL ADDITIONAL PRESSURE TO PERFORM AT THE SAME LEVEL THIS TEAM IS ACCUSTOMED TO? "Not really. The only pressure that I feel is the pressure that I put on myself because I definitely feel like I need to perform; those are some pretty big shoes that I'm filling. This is a great bunch of guys and they've been really relaxed, so it's got me feeling right at home. I definitely put pressure on myself to do better, but at the same time, I feel real relaxed being with a group of guys that have so much experience and a great track record."

ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN YOUR SITUATION LAST YEAR AND YOUR CURRENT ONE IN THAT YOU WERE TEAMED WITH A VETERAN TEAMMATE AND A VETERAN CREW CHIEF? "Not at all. It was a different operation, and with different organizations, they have different ways of running their programs. You could take the same guys from one operation and plug them into a new one, but you won't get the same results. I think it come down to the way an organization runs their program. I think that the way these guys work, they're awful laid back but at the same time awful intense about their racing. They make a real comfortable working environment and they keep pushing each other to do better, but at the same time, they're still supportive."

HAVE YOU NOTICED A HIGHER LEVEL OF INTENSITY IN THE BUSCH SERIES COMPARED TO THE TRUCK SERIES? "The biggest difference so far has been the increase in media and coverage that we get here. I seem to be doing a lot more interviews and I haven't even competed in my first race yet. I'm sure once we get on the race track, the biggest learning curve will be me learning all the new drivers I haven't competed against. Luckily, there are a lot of guys up front that I've raced in the past, and I know how to race them and how they're going to race me. There's always the chance of finding a driver that's not as clean or respectable, and to know that ahead of time is a big plus, but that's the learning curve that I have to face."

THERE ARE A COUPLE OF OTHER DRIVERS IN THE BUSCH SERIES THIS YEAR THAT ARE ALSO MAKING THE JUMP FROM THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES. DO YOU STILL EXPECT TO BATTLE THEM ON A WEEKLY BASIS? "I think you'll still see a lot of rivalry between all of us. You have a lot of great veterans that have been here for a long time, showed their talents and are really on top of their game. You have Keller and Raines and LaJoie, guys that have been here for so long that you expect them to be competitive. And then you've got Biffle, who is really on his game and had a great year last year, but most of all, Keller is coming back here and I think he's the one you have to look out for, but luckily, he's my teammate. I've got a lot of his things on my car and hopefully we'll able to reciprocate down the road."

YOU'VE BEEN WORKING IN THE GARAGE STALL NEXT TO GREG BIFFLE FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS. HOW MUCH ATTENTION HAVE YOU PAID TO WHAT HIS TEAM IS DOING TO THE CAR? "We have the same manufacturer when it comes to cars, but we haven't watched them too much. The good thing about this team is that they have the same kind of mindset that I do. They keep their heads down and blinders on and stay focused on what the 10 team is doing and not everybody else, and that usually pays off in the long run."

YOU'RE SET TO RUN FOR ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR HONORS, BUT WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER GOALS? "Just to win Rookie-of-the-Year and to be competitive on a weekly basis, that's my goal. These guys here feel and think that we can go right back out and pick up where they left off the past couple of year. Like I said, I've got some pretty big shoes to fill, but I'm ready for that."

CAN YOU JUST PLUG A DRIVER INTO A CAR WITH PROVEN EQUIPMENT AND EXPECT HIM TO WIN? "I think that Jeff and I have a lot of the same characteristics when it comes to personality and attitude. So far, I've gotten along great with the guys, and the more that I get to know them, the more I realize I made a great choice to come over here."

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Drivers Jeff Green , Scott Riggs