Scott Riggs, No. 10 Nestle Nesquik Ford: Riggs leads the RaybestosÂ® Rookie standings by 27 points over Johnny Sauter. He enters the Aaron'S 312 at Talladega Fresh Off His First Career Win In Last Week'S Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Scott Riggs, No. 10 Nestle Nesquik Ford:
Riggs leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 27 points over Johnny Sauter. He enters the Aaron'S 312 at Talladega Fresh Off His First Career Win In Last Week'S Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Riggs also has one pole to his credit entering this weekend's race at talladega. He took the top starting spot for the Channellock 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Riggs is fourth in Busch Series points with three top-five and five top-10 finishes.
"We're going to have our primary (car) back together. I think when we go to Talladega we're going to be better than we were going to be at Daytona with that car. Talking with Harold (Holley, crew chief) he says 'I hate to say it but every time you destroy it, the positive side of that is that we get to go back and redo it again and everything we've learned we're able to implement onto a new body.' We're going to have pretty much an all new body on that car and I think we'll be pretty good.
"We've tested a bunch (at Talladega) getting ready for Daytona. Talladega seems to have a lot wider corners. I understand what all the drivers used to say about Daytona being more of a handling track than Talladega was and I can see that because the corners are sharper and you have to have your car turning better at Daytona to make a pass or make a move or hold it on the bottom. Talladega is so wide that even a car that isn't handling really well you can still hustle it around there pretty good and make good speeds. It's definitely going to be all drafting."
WHAT HAS YOUR TEAM DONE TO PREPARE FOR THE THREE RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES IN THE BUSCH SERIES THIS SEASON? "They've (his team) been putting a lot of emphasis on the speedways for the last couple of years. I think they really have the rest of their packages down pretty well. I think that Harold has been working really hard on getting our speedway stuff even better. That's why I think we were so good at Daytona and even though we had to have a backup we were still able to come up there and have a good, decent finish. Hopefully we can do the same thing at Talladega."
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW WELL YOU RAN AT TALLADEGA WITH THE BACKUP CAR? "Not really. I knew that anything could happen and I just tried to keep my nose out of trouble. I feel like I earned some respect from some guys and maybe some guys will be more willing and quicker to jump behind me and feel comfortable about drafting with me when we get to Talladega."
COULD YOU TELL MORE PEOPLE WERE WILLING TO DRAFT WITH YOU DURING THE RACE AT DAYTONA? "Maybe not so much through the course of that race but I think since that race I have more people willing to work with us and be eager to work with us on the racetrack."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO AVOID AN ACCIDENT AT DAYTONA OR TALLADEGA? "The main thing is not to be the one that starts it. Don't try to get impatient and get into anyone or put yourself in a position that you are going to make it three wide where you don't need to be three wide or do something stupid like trying to make it four wide in a place you don't need to. The main thing you try to do is not cause it and not be a part of it."
DO YOU THINK IT'S POSSIBLE FOR A MEMBER OF THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CLASS TO WIN AT TALLADEGA? "I think so. I think the Raybestos® Rookie field this year is so strong that I think a rookie can win nearly every race, especially somewhere like Talladega or Daytona."
Johnny Sauter, No. 2 Acdelco Chevrolet:
Sauter was the highest qualifying Raybestos® rookie for the season opening race at Daytona, claiming the seventh starting position. He is second in Raybestos® rookie points behind leader Riggs. Entering Saturday'S race at Talladega, Sauter has one top-five and one top-10 and is 11th in Busch Series points.
YOU HAD A GOOD RUN AT DAYTONA IN FEBRUARY. HOW DID YOUR TEAM PREPARE FOR TALLADEGA? "We straightened it up after I knocked it around a little bit at Daytona. For the most part, I think we're going to go with the same package. I've never been to Talladega and never tested there. From what I understand, if you can drive Daytona you can drive Talladega. I think we'll stick to our original game plan and see where we end up in qualifying."
DO YOU THINK MORE GUYS WILL DRAFT WITH YOU AT TALLADEGA THAN THEY DID AT DAYTONA? "I would hope so. Obviously, when we raced there I didn't get a whole lot of help but we had a strong enough car that we were able to stay in the top-five and top-10. Sooner or later they will have to draft with me because we've got a good enough car that somebody is going to want to try and help us or latch on. For the most part, I hope people start helping me."
IS THERE ANYTHING A DRIVER CAN DO TO AVOID GETTING CAUGHT UP IN A BIG WRECK? "Yeah, stay out front. That's basically the rule of thumb. Basically, what happened to us at Daytona was just a racing accident. I got on the outside of a guy and (he) didn't know I was there and we had contact."
IS IT DIFFICULT TO LEARN HOW TO DRAFT? "It's a lot easier than I anticipated it was going to be. There again with Richard Childress and ACDelco, the cars are so good it makes my job that much easier. When you can hold it wide open and try and stay in line and the car is handling pretty good it's actually a lot easier than it looks. I'll be the first to admit that I worried about it when I was at Daytona and didn't know what I was doing my first time there. For the most part, I'm really looking forward to it. I like superspeedway racing and we'll see what happens. Talladega is only going to be my second superspeedway (race) so naturally I'm going to enjoy it going there for the second time only and getting to play in the draft. The draft is just so overwhelming. It's pretty awesome. I enjoy it."
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE ACCOMPLISH AT TALLADEGA? CAN YOU WIN THE RACE? "I definitely think the car is capable of winning. I know the team and the pit stops and everything else is capable, we've just got to get a good handling package under the car and position ourselves to be in the right place at the right time. That's what it's all about and I'll have good teammates there."
Shane Hmiel, no. 47 Thomas Pacconi Classics Chevroler:
Hmiel was the Raybestos® rookie of the race at Daytona, collecting a fifth place finish. Hmiel won his first career Bud pole at the Pepsi 300 at Nashville last weekend and set a track record in the process. He is third in the Raybestos® rookie standings, nine points behind sauter and is 18th in Busch series points.
ARE YOU PUMPED UP ABOUT GOING TO TALLADEGA, ANOTHER RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACK? "I think it will be good for us. We went to Daytona and ran fifth but we ran in the top-10 all day. It wasn't like we just lucked up and finished there. My crew built a really nice speedway car for us and luckily we didn't have any damage at that first Daytona race so we'll be able to take the identical car back to Talladega. They're pretty much the same exact track, a little less handling involved at Talladega than Daytona but I look forward to running in the top-five, top-10 again. I don't see why we can't."
DID YOU HAVE TROUBLE WITH DRIVERS WILLING TO DRAFT WITH YOU? "Yeah, at the start of the race I was trying to do some stuff on my own and it didn't take me long to realize that being a rookie I had heard about all that stuff on the TV and nobody wants to go with you. I hope I gained a little bit of respect from some of the guys I race around in the first seven races that we've run to where when we go to Talladega somebody won't be worried about going with me so I don't go down there and spin out in front of people.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO LEARN HOW TO DRAFT? HOW HARD IS IT TO "SEE THE AIR" LIKE DALE EARNHARDT SAID HE COULD DO? "He (Dale Earnhardt) always knew where he wanted to go before he got there. I think that's the deal. Some people run up on people and they're like "Whoa, which way do I go?' and they let off the gas and they've lost all their momentum. My Dad always told me if you get a chance you need to go ahead and go with it. The worst thing you are going to do is fall back to where you were or maybe lose a couple of spots or you could pick up 10. Who knows? I'm really pumped and I look to run in the top-five."
THE BUSCH SERIES HAS THREE RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES THIS SEASON. HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED YOUR PREPERATION? HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE WIND TUNNEL MORE? HAVE YOU BUILT MORE SPEEDWAY CARS? "My teammate (Kenny Wallace) built a new speedway car. He wasn't too satisfied with how he ran (at Daytona) even though he finished in the top-10. He just didn't run like he thought he should have all day. They built a new car to go (to Talladega). We don't get any wind tunnel time so all we did was wipe our car off and paint the nose. We're going to Talladega like it is."
DID YOU DO ANY EXTRA PREPARATION FOR TALLADEGA? "Not with us. We don't get much wind tunnel time, if any, so we're not going to use it on something that we only use three times a year. We've got a race proven car that these guys built in-house and it's a really good car. At Daytona, if we had had some stuff go our way as far as passes and stuff like that we would have been up front all day like we were but even higher."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO AS A DRIVER TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA? "What I've learned at those places is that you can usually see that stuff starting to happen. It's funny because there were a couple of wrecks where I said that 'There's about to be a wreck' and sure enough there was. It's something that you can see most of the time. The banging you sometimes don't anticipate but the crashes you can usually anticipate, depending on who is racing near who and who is racing that hard. Some guys don't want to give an inch but that's usually sometimes where their car ends up tore up. I'll lose five spots to make sure I'm there at the end. We had a couple of DNFs (did not finish) at the start of the year and it hurt us but we're coming back. We're going to give those people five feet and be there at the end."