BUSCH: Rockingham II: This Week in Ford Racing - Scott Riggs

This Week in Ford Racing October 29, 2002 NASCAR Busch Grand National Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Ford Taurus, started off the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series season where Jeff Green left off.  Riggs captured two wins in his first nine races,...

This Week in Ford Racing
October 29, 2002
NASCAR Busch Grand National

Scott Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Ford Taurus, started off the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series season where Jeff Green left off.  Riggs captured two wins in his first nine races, and 14 races into the season, he was sitting in second place in the point standings, just 41 points out of first.  Now, with three races remaining in the season, Riggs finds himself in eighth place, still with two wins and two poles to his credit.  Until his fourth-place finish last weekend in Atlanta, Riggs had gone four races without a top-10 finish and three races with finishes of 34th or worse.  But give Riggs his due - he's still just a rookie.  Riggs talked about the struggles his team encountered in his rookie season and his expectations for the remainder of the year.

SCOTT RIGGS-10-Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus

UNTIL YOUR FOURTH-PLACE FINISH AT ATLANTA LAST WEEKEND, YOU SEEMED TO BE FLYING UNDER THE RADAR.  "We pretty much have.  Everybody is doing a good job, we just sorta got off of our program there.  I think it was a lot of everybody just trying too hard, trying to get back on track.  Every time we get on track and we have a good race car, something would happen.  We would have an engine letdown, a flat tire or something like that, and it would just keep getting everyone more discouraged and more determined to come back and work even harder the next week.  I think it had a lot to do with me overdriving the race car.  Harold was trying awful hard, making a lot of changes trying to help me, and it's just been frustrating and discouraging.  We've been talking a lot about it, and I think we've really got it settled down.  I feel like the learning curve that we've been going through in the middle of the season here is probably something most people go through maybe their first two years together.  I feel like we've accomplished a lot, we've got the communication gap filled now, and I think we're back on track as far as what I'm feeling and what he's seeing and what we need to do to be better and stay calm and not overdrive the race car.  We still need to have some luck.  Every time it seems like we have a good race car, we have some bad luck.  If we would have had three more wins since our last win, we wouldn't be beating ourselves up at all, but every time we are in position to win, something happens that is out of our control and just compounds the whole issue.  I feel like we're on track.  I feel like we've resolved a lot of the communication problems or barriers that we might have been putting up on our own and it think it's going to help us a ton for next year."

YOU STARTED THE YEAR OFF STRONG WITH TWO WINS IN THE FIRST NINE RACES.  DO YOU THINK PEOPLE FORGOT YOU WERE A ROOKIE?  "I think we even did.  I think all of us, after coming out of the box so strong, we sorta raised our expectation levels and then it was setting ourselves up for a fall.  It hurts.  It hurts when you fall.  It hurts when you cut yourself up like that, when we raise the bar too high and you can't reach it any more.  Like I said, I think that's where it got to us trying too hard and overdriving the race car.  We were just pushing each other too much."

YOUR TEAMMATE, JASON KELLER, IS STILL IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT.  HOW MUCH OF YOUR TEAM'S RESOURCES ARE OVER IN THE 57 GARAGE HELPING HIM?  "I think we still help each other as much as we can every weekend.  I think that we still go over each other's notes. Me and Jason still talk.  If we go anywhere and we're faster than Jason, we'll all sit down and figure out why and get us both fast, and vice-versa.  I think if we didn't have a teammate, there's positive and negative side to it.   If we didn't have a teammate, we wouldn't have a good standard of where we need to be at, but maybe that's why we push ourselves so hard.  But it's also good to have a teammate, you go over there and lean on him when you do need a pick-me-up."

DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO TRY SOMETHING MORE RADICAL BECAUSE WITH JASON RUNNING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, HE HAS TO TAKE A MORE CONSERVATIVE APPROACH?  "No, because I think anything we find that works, I don't think that Steve (Addington) and Jason have pulled the reins back trying to be conservative.  I think they're trying to do the same thing that they've done since the beginning of the race, and that's to try to win every race.  I think that's the only way that you can continue the same results that you've had in the beginning of the season.  I think that as soon as you start trying to change your program, you lose what got you there in the first place."

YOU STARTED OF THE SEASON WINNING TWO POLES AND TWO RACES RATHER QUICKLY.  DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD TO DO THAT TO SILENCE THE CRITICS?  "I definitely felt like when I got in there for the first time that I was there to prove to myself and prove to everyone that I was worthy of the opportunity.  But at the same time, it sorta hurt me here lately because I've been trying so hard and overdriving the race car.  I think I wanted to prove myself and the team wanted to prove that we could all do it together, and we did, and that was great but when things started not going our way, we couldn't get the results we wanted and I think that sorta self-destructed ourselves by trying to push ourselves too much."

TALK ABOUT THE FINAL THREE RACES OF THE SEASON AND YOUR GOALS TO FINISH OUT THE SEASON.  "We've got a good shot to win a couple of these races.  I feel like we have a good shot to win a lot of these races.  I just want to get back to finishing in the top five and wining races and just seeing the checkered flag and being in contention to win.  The last couple of weeks here, these 30-something finishes aren't fun.  It gets you down and hurts you in the points.  The last three races before Atlanta, we fell back one position in the points every week and we need to go the other way.  We need to be working our way back up to the front and we need to finish this year on a good note to keep all of our heads up and focus for next year."

DO YOU EXPECT ANY OFF-SEASON CHANGES TO YOUR TEAM FOR NEXT YEAR? "It's going to be pretty much the same thing that we started this year with.  I think we're going with the same motor program, I know we have the same cars, the same team, nobody is leaving, everybody is staying in check and I think it will put us in a good position to come out of the box strong next year."

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Drivers Jeff Green , Scott Riggs