Riggs Looks for Head Start on Busch Championship Chase
Monday, September 8, 2003
When the NASCAR Busch Series drivers roll into Atlanta on Oct. 25, there will be just four races left in the season. And if things continue, there will be at least five drivers intent on capturing the championship.
One of them was at Atlanta Motor Speedway testing on Monday, as Scott Riggs and his No. 10 NesQuik Racing team were searching for elusive tenths of seconds that would push him ahead of the competition in the Oct. 25 Aaron¿s 312 Busch Series race.
Riggs made strides during Monday¿s test, completing a lap around the high banks of Atlanta¿s 1.54-mile track in 29.57 seconds (187.487 mph).
¿We¿ve been working on the feel of the car,¿ Riggs said. ¿We need to be consistent, and that¿s what we¿re looking for. We¿re doing race runs, qualifying runs, just searching for the fastest way around this place for when we come back in October.¿
When Riggs returns, he will likely be smack in the middle of the closest title chase since Dale Earnhardt Jr. edged Matt Kenseth by only 48 points in 1998. Any position gained on track by Riggs could mean the difference in winning a championship and finishing outside the top 5.
¿When I look at Atlanta, it¿s obvious that David (Green) has experience on his side,¿ Riggs said. ¿Brian (Vickers) has Hendrick Motorsports on his side ¿ he gets all the help he needs from their other teams. But I know week in and week out my team is just as capable of coming to the track and visiting victory lane as those guys are. That¿s what matters.¿
Riggs is currently third in Busch Series points, 65 point back from leader David Green and only 17 points behind second-place Brian Vickers. But that¿s vastly different story from last week, when Riggs was leading the points before a 29th-place finish derailed him at Richmond. Vickers and Green finished the race fourth and fifth, respectively, to jump ahead in the standings.
And this year, the Busch Series is providing race fans with needed action. The series has produced 15 different winners this season. The top six drivers are all within 300 points of one another, and just 74 points separate the top four.
Despite the raging battle, Riggs has been careful to continue to focus on winning races and let the points take care of themselves.
¿When you start changing your point of view, your focus,¿ he said, ¿that¿s when you lose sight of the job at hand. We can¿t get so focused on the points that we over look what¿s in front of us right now.¿
Riggs is also quick to point out, however, that winning his first Busch Series championship is something he¿s more than willing to battle for.
¿If it comes down to it, we¿re not going to lose this thing easily,¿ Riggs said. ¿We¿re going to fight, claw and scratch our way to the championship. It only takes one point to win it.¿
Riggs will continue testing his Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
Tickets for the Oct. 25 Aaron¿s 312 Busch Series race are still available and can be ordered by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.