Daytona: Scott Riggs race report

SCOTT RIGGS BRINGS HOME RAB RACING'S FIRST TOP-15 FINISH AT DAYTONA Concord, NC (2-15-2010) -- In his first NASCAR Nationwide series start with RAB Racing, Scott Riggs brings home the team's first top-15 finish, finishing 15th at Daytona ...


Concord, NC (2-15-2010) -- In his first NASCAR Nationwide series start with RAB Racing, Scott Riggs brings home the team's first top-15 finish, finishing 15th at Daytona International Speedway in Saturday's Drive4COPD 300.

The Bahama, NC native started the event in the 39th position by virtue of the rule book based on the qualifying draw when Friday afternoon's time trials were cancelled due to rain.

The 43-car field took the green flag just past 1:00 p.m. ET before an estimated crowd of 80,000. Riggs quickly began to realize that he could see people getting "dicey" in the early stages of the 120-lap event and chose to lie back in the opening laps. His strategy paid off when the field was slowed down twice in the opening 10 circuits for accidents on the frontstech and in turn 2. When the field finally went back to green on lap 11, the black and yellow Ford Fusion was scored in the 24th position.

On lap 42, running 21st, the leaders began making the long trip down pit road for green-flag pit stops. Riggs was up to the second position before making a scheduled stop on lap 46 for four Goodyear Eagle tires and Sunoco fuel. Riggs was down and away and scored in the 27th position when green flag pit stops cycled through.

Just six laps later, the afternoon's third caution flag was displayed for a spin off turn-3. Rookie crew chief, Ben Gable kept the No. 09 Ford Fusion on the track and when green flag racing resumed on lap 55, Riggs was scored in the 5th position.

Riggs maintained his position in the top-5 for four laps until the yellow and black Ford was shuffled to the middle lane, causing the machine to lose ground on the leaders. When the fourth caution flag flew on lap 69 for a 12 car pile-up on the frontstretch, Riggs was sitting in the 27th position.

Barely making it through the incident, Riggs suffered from a flat left front tire due to debris on the track. The No. 09 machine was forced onto pit road for fuel and four tires, including an air pressure adjustment to aid in the handling of the machine. Due to excellent work by the RAB Racing pit crew, Riggs restarted the event 14th with 42 laps to go.

Continuing to suffer from an ill handling car, Riggs raced competitively inside the top-15 until a multi-car incident bringing out the red flag slowed the field for the sixth time that afternoon.

The No. 09 Ford had almost cleared the carnage when the No. 62 machine of Brendan Gaughan tagged the right front wheel ultimately bending the lower control arm and forcing the No. 09 Ford down pit road three times over a five lap caution period to repair the damage.

Riggs took the green flag for the seventh time in the 20th position with 25 laps remaining in the 300-mile event. With the front end alignment on the machine off, Riggs fought to hang onto a top-20 spot on the scoreboard.

A welcoming opportunity for relief came just three laps later when the afternoon's seventh and final caution flag was displayed. Gable took this opportunity to bring the Ford Fusion down pit road for one final attempt to fix the handling on the machine. The crew made repairs and changed tires on the No. 09 Ford and sent Riggs back out with 20 laps remaining.

Racing inside the top-20, Riggs was able to make one final push before the checkered flag and avoid a last lap wreck. The No. 09 Ford Fusion crossed the start finish line in the 15th position; posting RAB Racing's best finish in the series to date.

"It was a good day for the No. 09 RAB Racing team," said Scott Riggs. "Our Ford Fusion was a little off today because we ultimately had it set-up for qualifying but my team worked really hard all day to make it better. We were fortunate to overcome a few incidents during the race and still be able to grab a top-15 finish. Our results were satisfactory compared to the potential of this team."

Next week the NASCAR Nationwide Series will travel west to the Golden State for the first of two stops on the 2010 schedule at Auto Club Speedway. Riggs, a 2002 winner at the 2-mile D-shaped oval will be back behind the wheel of the No. 09 Ford Fusion.

The Stater Bros. 300 will be televised live on ESPN2 Saturday, February 20 beginning at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and can be heard on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 7:15 p.m.

-source: rab racing

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Drivers Scott Riggs , Brendan Gaughan