Riggs and RCR's Zaxby's Chevrolet Team Score Second Consecutive Top-Ten Veteran NASCAR driver Scott Riggs earned his second consecutive top-10 finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving Richard Childress Racing's No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet in...
Riggs and RCR's Zaxby's Chevrolet Team Score Second Consecutive Top-Ten
Veteran NASCAR driver Scott Riggs earned his second consecutive top-10 finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving Richard Childress Racing's No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet in Saturday night's Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, overcoming a tight-handling racecar, a pit road miscue and a tire rub to finish ninth.
The finish increased car owner Richard Childress' spot in the NNS Owners' Point Standings by four positions, to 13th.
Just one week after finishing ninth in his RCR debut at Nashville Superspeedway, Riggs entered the Kentucky race weekend with confidence in the Dan Deeringhoff-led team and experience at the 1.5-mile tri-oval as a former winner in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition at the facility. Riggs proved his confidence by running the 10th and 13th-fastest times during a pair of practice sessions on Friday evening.
On Saturday afternoon, Riggs posted a 30.957-second lap around the 1.5-mile track for a speed of 174.436 mph during qualifying, good enough for a fifth-place starting spot - a season-best for the Zaxby's team -- in Saturday evening's 300 miler.
Despite the threat of rain showers and thunderstorms all day, the Meijer 300 rolled off as scheduled in front of an estimated 61,000 race fans and a live ESPN television audience. Riggs got off to a great start in the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet and drove to third from his fifth-place starting spot on lap one before the first of 10 cautions was displayed on lap two for an accident in turn four.
On the restart, Riggs again used his experience and skill to gain positions on the racetrack, working his way to second by lap six of 200. However, as the 43-car starting field began to pace itself around the Sparta, Ky.,-based track, Riggs began to drop back in the field, reporting to his RCR team that the Zaxby's Chevy was extremely loose.
When the caution flag was displayed on lap 22, Deeringhoff made the call to bring the Zaxby's Chevrolet down pit road so that the RCR team could address the handling of the race car with a chassis adjustment, four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. However, a tire rolled halfway outside of the team's pit box and NASCAR officials issued a penalty on lap 25, forcing the team to restart at the tail end of the longest line. In addition to the pit road penalty, the team failed to tighten two left-front lug nuts, so Riggs made a second trip down pit road to have the lug nuts tightened and take on additional fuel. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 26, Riggs was scored in the 33rd position.
Following the pit stop, Riggs reported that the Zaxby's Chevrolet was good on entry to the corners but tight in the center of the corner and in exiting the corners. Still, he was slowly gaining positions on the racetrack and was running 27th on lap 59 when the race leader passed him and he went one lap down.
A lap-73 caution afforded the team an opportunity to make a trip down pit road, where the Zaxby's Chevrolet was serviced with four tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments.
Riggs restarted the race 23rd on lap 79 and the field immediately began to shuffle for positions. He found himself in a three-wide battle and, unfortunately, slight contact with another car caused the left-front fender to rub down on the tire. Riggs lost two positions on the racetrack as the team assessed whether or not the tire was flat. Luckily, it was not and Riggs was able to continue on as the team waited for another caution so that the fender could be adjusted.
The caution flag was displayed on lap 113 and spotter PJ Bryant guided Riggs down pit road on lap 115 so that the Zaxby's team could fix the left-front tire and service the car with four tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments.
Riggs restarted 24th on lap 119 and, although he was one lap down, raced hard in order to put himself in position to earn the Lucky Dog award. His efforts paid off as the caution flag was displayed again on lap 132 and Riggs was the award's recipient, putting the Zaxby's Chevrolet back on the lead lap.
The team pitted for fuel only on lap 135 and restarted 22nd, on the lead lap. From there, Riggs was able to race his way forward and avoid trouble during three additional cautions for accidents involving other cars on the race track. He was scored in 18th on lap 147, 13th on lap 150, and ninth on lap 160 before dropping back to 11th on lap 170 when the caution flag was displayed for the final time of the race.
When green-flag racing resumed on lap 174, Riggs was able to use the last 25 laps to race for position, finishing ninth in the Zaxby's Chevrolet.
Joey Logano earned his third consecutive NNS victory at Kentucky Speedway, while Carl Edwards finished second. Brad Keselowski, Brendan Gaughan and Reed Sorenson rounded out the top five.
The next NASCAR Nationwide Series race is the Bucyrus 200 presented by Menards at Road America on Saturday, June 19.
"We really overcame some obstacles. The car was extremely loose at the beginning of the race and, for most of the night, I was facing a tight condition in the center of the corners. Still, the guys on this team did an excellent job of making chassis adjustments to improve the handling of the Zaxby's Chevrolet. It's a shame we got off of the lead lap but everyone did a great job of putting us in position to earn the Lucky Dog award. I can't say enough about this team and I am thankful for the opportunity."