This Week in Ford Racing April 30, 2002 NASCAR Busch Grand National Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Nesquik Ford Taurus, in just his ninth start in the Busch Series competition, won his second race of the season last weekend in California...
This Week in Ford Racing
April 30, 2002
NASCAR Busch Grand National
Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Nesquik Ford Taurus, in just his ninth start in the Busch Series competition, won his second race of the season last weekend in California and matched the total number of wins this season by his teammate Jason Keller. With two wins by each of the ppc Racing drivers, and a 44 percent winning average in the first nine races, the two-car operation is once again trying to repeat the one-two finish in the points championship that it enjoyed in 2000. Riggs, who also currently leads the Raybestos rookie-of-the-year standings, spoke about the two-car operation and one-team mentality at ppc Racing.
SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus
IT SEEMS THAT YOU AND JASON KELLER KEEP TRYING TO ONE UP EACH OTHER IN TERMS OF WINNING RACES. "That's really the key of how good ppc as an organization is performing. It shows the strength of the program that we have over here and with Harold Holly calling the shots. We've had great pit stops for both teams and the guys have consistently given us cars that are capable of winning races, and that's putting us in the position to win races. It's really a total team effort."
IS THERE A FRIENDLY COMPETITION BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS? "I don't think so. I don't think there's a competition between us at all. I think that we want to see both of the cars do well; we want to see each other do well. What we want to do is to be able to race each other to the last lap for first and second, and that's the kind of mentality that we have in the shop. If they win, we win, and if we win, they win. I don't think there's any competition between us; we just both want to run good."
YOU'VE NOW WON TWO RACES IN JUST NINE BUSCH SERIES STARTS. HAS IT BEEN EASIER THAN YOU ANTICIPATED? "It's not easy, for sure. I'm happy that I'm able to step into a team and find so many guys that all work so well together, including myself, and we all mesh well. I'm just lucky that when I did make the move to ppc that I did find a group of guys like this and that we're able to continue the same winning ways that they've had for years."
THREE FORMER CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES COMPETITORS - JACK SPRAGUE, GREG BIFFLE AND YOURSELF - CURRENTLY SIT IN THE TOPSIX IN POINTS, BUT YOU'RE THE ONLY THAT HAD TO TRANSITION INTO A NEW ORGANIZATION. DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE TWO WINS UNDER YOUR BELT IN A SHORTER SPAN OF TIME THAN OTHER TWO? "I think you definitely have to get in good equipment, first off. None of us could run the way we ran in the truck series if we weren't with good teams in good equipment. It has just carried over to here where we race hard, respect each other and win races, and I think that we've all had great opportunities to come up to the next level and that's Busch and we're all still with great teams. Both of them, they were able to bring their truck teams and move the whole team to the Busch Series. They knew that the chemistry worked already, and that's where I feel lucky because I've been able to step into a brand-new team, for myself, and I feel so lucky to step into a good ride with such a good opportunity."
DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE TAKING A BIGGER RISK THAN SPRAGUE AND BIFFLE BECAUSE YOU MADE THE JUMP TO THE BUSCH SERIES WITH ANOTHER TEAM? "I feel lucky because I think that I put more pressure on myself to try to step up to the plate, do well and to be able to win races right out of the box more than they try to put pressure on me. I really didn't feel any pressure from them to win right away. It makes me appreciate it more, the decision I made to come over here with these guys. Looking back, it all seems to be in the right direction in which I should have gone. I'm just lucky to have the guys around me. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to step into a situation where everybody works together so well, and, luckily, they're all like me. I feel that's the best part, all of these guys are just like me and that's why we work together so well and that's why the 10 car continues to be so strong. We're all just a bunch of racers at heart. They want to do whatever it takes to make sure that they win races. When they come through that gate in the morning, they turn a switch on and they are nothing but a racer, giving it 110 percent, and whatever it takes to help pull each other through the weekend."
IN VICTORY LANE LAST WEEKEND IN CALIFORNIA, YOU REFERRED TO YOUR TEAM AS THE PPC RENEGADES. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT TITLE? "This is what they tell me. The first time that I met them, they told me that they were a bunch of misfit outlaws that were all lucky enough to have a place to go and pull together as a unit. That was over there on the 10 car. That's where I got the renegades from, so now I'm going to call them the ppc Renegades every chance I get. If you spend some time around them you'll know what I mean."
YOU AND JACK SPRAGUE HAD A RIVALRY LAST YEAR IN THE TRUCK SERIES, BUT BESIDES AN INCIDENT AT ROCKINGHAM THERE HASN'T BEEN MUCH ON-TRACK ACTION INVOLVING THE TWO OF YOU. "Me and Jack were good friends last year. Sure, we had a run-in in the final race of the season at California. We got into each other at Rockingham this year, and everyone was saying that there was something to that, but I think that me and Jack feel each other out and we respect and understand how good of a driver both of us are. We respect each other as drivers and race each other hard but we race each other clean, too."
JACK SPRAGUE IS LEADING THE POINTS CURRENTLY, BUT GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW HIS DRIVING STYLE AND ABILITY, DO YOU FEEL THAT IT COULD JUST AS EASILY BE YOU LEADING THE POINTS? "Jack's not the only person that you have to try to outrun. There's Jason Keller. He's right there and he's going to be strong all year long. He feels that this is his year to win the championship, and you've also got LaJoie and Biffle, and Stacy Compton is really getting his program to work together this year. Biffle is always going to be there contending for the win. There are a lot of guys in the hunt for the championship this year, more than I think were in it in past years."
YOU WERE IN A SITUATION LAST YEAR WHERE YOU HAD A TEAMMATE IN TED MUSGRAVE THAT WAS EQUALLY COMPETITIVE. HAS THAT EXPERIENCE MADE THE TRANSITION TO ANOTHER COMPETITIVE TWO-TEAM OPERATION EASIER? "Last year was really my first year of racing all year long. To me, I feel like it's natural and normal, that's the way it's supposed to be. You're supposed to have a teammate that runs well, and when you're having a rough time trying to figure something out, you can look to him for advice, and vice versa. You also have someone out there that motivates you. It just seems normal because that's what I've done the last two years."
ARE THE FORMER TRUCK SERIES COMPETITORS BRINGING AN AGGRESSIVE STYLE OVER TO THE BUSCH SERIES? "I think maybe it's an aggressive, hungry style from all of us, but as far as more contact, I don't think there's any more contact out there. You don't see the truck guys, the guys coming from the truck series to the Busch Series, start knocking people out of the way. I don't think that's the case. I think that you're seeing Biffle, myself and Sprague that are hungry, hungry for a championship and hungry to win races. I think we just add to the people that are already there with the same fire and desire; we just add to the competition level."
WITH MORE STABILITY, IS THE CAR EASIER TO DRIVE THAN THE TRUCK, AND CAN YOU BE MORE AGGRESSIVE IN THE CAR KNOWING YOU'VE HANDLED THE TRUCK IN DICEY SITUATIONS? "I think that as far as one being easier than the other, I think you just have to drive them different. What makes me feel so good this year versus last year is being with Harold Holly and all of the guys on the team. I have a really good relationship with Harold, and I think that probably makes it easier and me more comfortable to get behind the wheel, knowing that no matter what problems we're faced with, Harold can figure out the problem and fix it."
IF THE POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP COMES DOWN TO THE LAST RACE AND IT'S BETWEEN YOU AND JASON KELLER, DO YOU SEE THE TEAM DYNAMICS CHANGING? "I was there last year when Jeff (Green) and Jason were there running hard at the end of the year still trying to catch Harvick for the points, so I don't see anything different if that's the scenario. I didn't see anything happen last year, and these guys are used to running each other hard at the end of the year. The crew guys are the same ones that have been here the past couple of years; I'm the only new piece. As long as we finish one and two in the points, that would be the biggest success for ppc and the whole team."
GREG POLLEX HAS MENTIONED THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO EVENTUALLY ADD A CUP TEAM TO HIS STABLE. DO YOU SEE THIS TWO-CAR BUSCH OPERATION AS A POTENTIAL TWO-CAR CUP OPERATION? "The biggest thing is that I'm not looking that far in advance. I'm just keeping my head down and staying focused on what my job is right now, and that's trying to do the best we can with this Busch car. Everyone keeps asking me about the future, but the future has been coming at me so fast the past two years that I'm not looking at anything down the road. I'm like a kid in class: I'm looking straight down in my notebook and studying hard and trying hard not to look too far in advance of where I might be able to go and what I might be able to do."