BUSCH: Raybestos Rookie - Scott Riggs interview

Riggs leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 68 points (241-173) over Shane Hmiel entering Saturday's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Riggs is fourth in Busch Series points, 143 behind leader Greg Biffle. He has two wins, seven top-five and 10...

Riggs leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 68 points (241-173) over Shane Hmiel entering Saturday's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Riggs is fourth in Busch Series points, 143 behind leader Greg Biffle. He has two wins, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes through the first 18 races of the 2002 Busch Series Season.

Riggs won races at Nashville Superspeedway and California Speedway. He has led more miles (311.55) and has been Raybestos® Rookie of the Race more times (9) than any other freshman driver.

SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 NESTLE NESQUIK FORD:

ARE YOU SURPRISED HOW WELL YOU ARE RUNNING DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON?

"The 10 car is capable of winning each and every race they go to. I think we have definitely had our ups and downs so far this year. We've had some bad luck and some good luck at a lot of different places. We're still working on trying to get the communication better and fine tune everything. All the guys on the team are still working hard, still giving 110 percent as they always do. Everybody's morale is pretty high. The first half has been satisfactory. We want to be better and we think we can be better."

AS A RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CONTENDER, WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON?

"The biggest surprise is how un-surprised I am about how we can perform when we show up at the racetrack. A lot of times I feel like I'm still in the truck series still chasing people like Jack Sprague and Greg Biffle. I still have a teammate that is one of the hardest guys to outrun every weekend in Jason Keller. It's probably surprising that I've got such a golden opportunity to come over here with these guys at ppc and to be able to be competitive right off the bat and already feel frustration when we can't finish close to the front."

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR SEASON SO FAR?

"I'm happy with the way everything is going. I'm happy with what we've done so far, but I still feel that we could have and should have been better a lot of times. The good thing about it is that most of the time when we come from the racetrack it's not like it's some ghost or goblin that we can't put our finger on. Most of the time it's 'Well, here's where we messed up' and we learned from it. Here's what we did wrong and we learned from it. Here's what I did wrong or here's where I gave the wrong feedback and wrong information or something like that. It's usually things that we can pinpoint. Any time you can leave the racetrack after the race and say 'Here's what we did wrong and here's what we need to put in the book to do better next time' you're learning and any time you are learning you're going to be better when you go back. To get half the season under our belt so far and to be sitting where we are, so far, I think is satisfactory. Before the season started this is probably what we expected our goal to be. But now, seeing what we've been able to do during the first half of the year, we really feel like we should be even better. We feel like we need to strive to be better."

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON?

"The main thing I want to do is be more consistent. I want more top-fives. It seems like we will have a great finish in the top-five one week and then something will happen and we'll finish 19th. If we can't win or can't quite make it to the front I still want to be there close enough to have a good finish. It seems like when things go bad with us it goes real bad. It skips over the top-10 part and falls all the way out to the 20s. We want to be a little more consistent and have more top-fives."

YOU HAVE LED THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE STANDING FOR MOST OF THE SEASON. HOW IMPORTANT WOULD WINNING THE ROOKIE CHAMPIONSHIP BE TO YOU AND YOUR TEAM?

"We're looking at it but we're not getting really torn out of shape about it. We fully expect that we should be able to win the Raybestos® Rookie of the Year. We want to be the rookie of the year. I feel like I have the best opportunity with the best team and most experienced team to win it and we should win. That sounds sort of big headed but when you have all these good people and all this equipment, all this know how and knowledge behind you in one team and all the pieces of the puzzle are there it's like you better because you've got every opportunity to and you should. I think when you look on paper at all the rookies I by far have the best opportunity to do well this year."

YOU HAVE A REALISTIC CHANCE TO WIN THE BUSCH SERIES POINTS TITLE. DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT TAKING HOME THE BIG PRIZE?

"We're looking at the points for sure. Every week we look where we're at, how far we're back, and the guys that are ahead of us in points, what they are doing how they are finishing how their consistency is beating us and out running us. We're definitely looking at it. Because of the point system or situation I don't think we're putting more pressure on ourselves to try to win the points or thinking this is our year to win it. We can win it and if everything goes well we can be there and race for it at the end, but at the same time we're not going to get too caught up on it and pull ourself away from this weekend. We've been pretty good so far this year taking every race one race at a time, one weekend at a time and try to learn from each and every one. I think as long as we continue to do that we'll be in better shape when the points shake out at the end of the season."

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR TEAM DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON?

"I think the biggest thing that Harold and I have talked a lot about and are working on is that we both try a little too hard sometimes. When we picked up our first win seven races into the season we felt so good about it. Now I think we've been nine races and we haven't won. We've almost spoiled ourself and feel like that we're falling down somewhere. We know we haven't fallen down, we know we haven't lost anything; we know we haven't lost any of our focus. What it really boils down is that we focus so hard. Harold and I both are trying so hard, to pull so hard to do better and to win that next race. I think that a lot of times I over-drive the racecar. A lot of times Harold will pull in one direction and I will pull in the other and we'll let the other pull us too far over the line and not really get a good reading on what the racecar needs to be competitive. I think a lot of times I'll worry too much about wanting to turn in the center of the corner and have a good free racecar and a lot of times Harold knows when it gets too loose you can't drive it hard and be aggressive and he pulls to the direction of wanting to make sure it's good and snug. That's the biggest thing right now in the last couple of weeks that we've really been focusing on."

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jason Keller , Greg Biffle , Jack Sprague , Scott Riggs