Riggs Races To Rockingham
February 19, 2004 | 2:54 P.M. EST
Riggs, a lifelong North Carolina resident, has always enjoyed racing at tracks near his hometown of Bahama, located 15 miles north of Durham.
"Being close to home is nice," explained Riggs, who is one of six rookies competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. "With a 20-month old son (Layne), it's easier and a lot less travel for my family. I usually get to spend more time with them.
"You feel like you have more support when you’re close to home. More people know your name and your friends and family are there. It's like you’re on your home court."
Riggs recalled visiting Rockingham's historic track as a youngster with his father, Russell.
"I went to Rockingham a couple of times with my dad when I was little," Riggs said. "I remember one race especially - it was a wild one. I couldn't tell you who he was battling, but I remember Bobby Allison winning it that year.
"Sitting and watching those cars race around the track, it never occurred to me that I'd be doing the same thing one day."
Piloting the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet, Riggs will enter the event at the 1.017-mile oval, known as The Rock, with a one-day test session under his belt.
"We tested well there," Riggs said. "We were supposed to be there for two days, but the second day was canceled for rain. We got a lot done and had a chance to see what the new tires would do. Tire wear has always been an issue at Rockingham, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out Sunday."
Riggs' rookie season got off to an unfortunate start, posting a 34th-place finish in the Daytona 500 opener. He was collected in two separate incidents during the race, including a 12-car pile up on the backstretch.
"That wasn't the start we wanted," Riggs said. "We got caught up in someone else's mess and there wasn't much we could do. Now all we can do is look ahead to the next race.
"I'm ready to go to Rockingham and get some real racing in. This is a different kind of race and a different kind of racetrack. I'm looking forward to it."
The 400-mile, 393-lap event will be televised on FOX, beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m. EST.