BUSCH: Michigan: Ford - Scott Riggs interview

This Week in Ford Racing August 12, 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Taurus, has been able to hold on to a slim lead in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings the past two events despite qualifying efforts of 18th...

This Week in Ford Racing
August 12, 2003

NASCAR Busch Series

Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Taurus, has been able to hold on to a slim lead in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings the past two events despite qualifying efforts of 18th and 19th. Riggs has overcome those starting positions to post two consecutive top-five finishes, and heading into this weekend's Cabela's 250 at Michigan International Speedway he holds a seven-point lead over David Green in the Busch Series point standings.

SCOTT RIGGS -10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus:

YOU HAVE POSTED TWO CONSECUTIVE TOP-FIVE FINISHES AND HAVE MANAGED TO KEEP THE POINTS LEAD THE PAST TWO RACES EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE HAD QUALIFYING EFFORTS OF 18TH AND 19TH. "It's been a stressful two races because we haven't had the cars we thought we should have. It's been awful hard for us, but we've kept digging. The guys on the Nesquik Ford never give up and they keep making changes no matter how bad the car is when we start the race. Because we qualified so poorly at IRP and we had such bad track position anyway, we just kept pitting and kept working on the car. The very last pit stop we made, we put left-side tires on and made another adjustment and it really flipped the switch and got the car going. It's races like that where you turn a bad car into a good finish that separates a top-five team from a championship-caliber team."

YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN A SLIGHT LEAD IN THE POINT STANDINGS WITH LATE-RACE CHARGES THROUGH THE FIELD. "We're just doing what we wanted to do all along and that's just be consistent and be competitive every week. We want to come into the race and be in the top five in qualifying and we want to leave the race finishing somewhere in the top five. If you keep on finishing in the top five, one of these times you'll be the first one in the top five and get a win under your belt. We've got two wins this year, but we just want to be consistent and we're sure the other wins will come. I'm just happy with everybody. Everybody is really working well together. Right now Doug Randolph is doing a great job with the guys. Everybody is really focused, everybody is happy, everybody is having fun and we're running well. It builds that momentum and builds that confidence in each other and the entire team."

DO YOU KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE NO. 37 CAR IN THE CLOSING LAPS OF A RACE? "We keep tabs on each other. David Green is a great competitor. I enjoy racing with him. I want to beat him just like he wants to beat me, but he and I are still great friends off of the race track. Him and me race pretty hard, but that's how respectable drivers are supposed to race each other."

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT HAS CHANGED RECENTLY? "I don't think so. The first of the year, we had a little bad luck for beginners. The first three races of the year we didn't finish on the lead lap just because of different circumstances taking us out. I think we've been fine-tuning our communication skills between myself and my crew chief. I think we've slowly but surely been sharpening those skills and sharpening that communication and bridging that gap. It just goes to show how good the team is working together. I'm having great pit stops. The guys are giving me better pit stops than they every have before. We're unloading off of the trailer with better cars and we're able to make adjustments with the crew chief understanding what I am saying by how severe I scream. He understands and makes good adjustments for me. I feel good about it because we've had a competitive car every single race. We haven't been able to show that with all of our finishes, but behind the driver's seat, I can assure you that all of the cars have been very well prepared. We've had a good setup everywhere and have been really consistent and competitive. We expect to be in the top-five every race. We feel like we have the cars and a team capable of doing that. We proved that we could do that by how good of cars we had even after we got a lap down in the first three races. It still didn't help us in the points, and I think people sort of forgot about us, but we knew as a team that even with our string of bad luck early that we had competitive cars. That was important because it would be real easy for me to get down on myself this year, but I think if I get down it would be the same as last year and I might start overdriving the race car. I'm just trying to keep throttled back. It's a long season and no matter how good you do at the beginning of the season, it's all about how you wind up overall. That's what I learned last year and I'm just trying to keep my head up and keep digging."

WHAT DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR RECENT STRING OF TOP-FIVE FINISHES? "The new crew chief, Doug Randolph, brings an entirely different mental aspect to the game. He really put a good leadership role model in front of the guys. He really knows how to make the guys work the hardest that they've ever worked before. They're very focused and they're all striving to be better and they continue to work closer and closer together as a team. The closer that they pull together as a unit, the more focused that they become. It just keeps getting better and better, and it's fun to have such great chemistry with myself and Doug Randolph and all of the team. It makes it fun on race day when you can have good race cars every week."

WITH THE CHANGE IN THE BODY STYLES FOR 2003, DID YOU HAVE TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW SETUPS THIS YEAR? "We struggled a little bit in the beginning of the year with the new body style, but Doug Randolph had a lot of ideas and they worked. Having the experience that he's had in Winston Cup, he's got a lot of ideas and he's learned a lot and he's applying those things to the car over here and they're working. When we go somewhere and one car is way off and one car is real good, then we all sit down and pick out whatever is the best no matter what side of the fence that idea came from. We still use each other, I just think that right now both of us are learning as much as we can with our new body styles and cars. I feel like Doug and Steve (Addington) communicate well, and I think if we get into situation where we need to use their setups we will still lean on each other."

THE BUSCH SERIES REJOINS THE WINSTON CUP SERIES THIS WEEKEND AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY. DO YOU EXPECT THE MEDIA FOCUS TO CHANGE FROM THE BUSCH SERIES POINTS RACE TO THE WINSTON CUP COMPETITORS WHO ARE COMPETING IN THE BUSCH RACE THIS WEEKEND? "All of the Winston Cup guys coming to the Busch Series has been a real hot topic it seems like all year. I still stand with my guns and I think that a lot of those races this year that those Cup guys have won, I don't think they won because they were a lot more dominant than any of the guys from the Busch Series. I just think that they had good cars and good equipment and made the right changes and happened to be at the right place at the right time. It takes a little bit of luck in this thing we call racing. You have to have luck on your side. When we go to victory lane, we don't want to say that maybe won because the Cup guys weren't here. We want to win when everybody's here so that we can say that we beat them all. As far as the Cup guys racing us in the Busch Series, it's tough because they bring so much competition to the race, but it's a free country and they have the ability to race in the Busch Series. The only thing that makes it tough is when you don't get the kind of practice that you're scheduled to get and they're still able to get as practice as they need on the Cup side. They definitely bring the information over. It definitely helps them on the Busch car, so that's something we have to deal with. I think that if they get an hour in a Cup car then they should lose an hour in the Busch car. I think that would really change things as far time on the race track. It's tough, but I don't know how to change it. I just know my time will come when I'll be on the other side of the fence, so I try not to worry too much about it."

IS THERE A WAY TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD? "I don't know about leveling the field out, but it's really only an issue when you don't have practice. It's tough when you don't have practice because of weather. Last year at the Darlington fall race, we got no practice. We bolted in our race cars and went racing. The Cup guys that were in that race could start the same stuff they had the day before and they had an advantage. There are definitely pros and cons to it, but I'm not going to be the one to get upset about it because, like I said before, I think it's going to make victory lane even sweeter when you outrun them all."

-ford racing-

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Drivers David Green , Scott Riggs