Riggs Has A Gas
August 23, 2005 | 9:31 A.M. EST
As eventual winner Jeremy Mayfield stretched his final fuel load to 52 laps, so did Riggs and his Valvoline Chevrolet. The gamble from crew chief Rodney Childers paid off in a second place finish and a satisfying end to Riggs' second trip of the year to MIS.
"Rodney told me there was enough fuel to finish the race and I didn't question him -- it was an excellent call," said Riggs. "I just drove the Valvoline Chevy as hard as I could. This is a great morale boost -- we've had good cars recently, but haven't gotten the results that we deserved."
Riggs came from deep in the field - 29th to be exact - for his final charge to the front and finished a mere 1.974 seconds behind Mayfield.
"We have Hendrick engines and we were getting pretty good fuel mileage the entire race," explained Riggs. "I never worried about running out of fuel -- my only concern was getting to the front and taking advantage of the situation while many of the other cars were pitting for a splash of fuel. I did my best to beat Jeremy, but it wasn't in the cards. I am very happy with the result and so proud of Rodney and the entire Valvoline team. This was truly a team effort.
"We had a strong car all day," Riggs continued. "We just never could get track position. Our lap times were as good as the leaders at different times of the race. At the end, the only way we were going to get track position was to take a gamble on fuel mileage. The way our luck has been going, I thought for sure a caution was going to come out late in the race. But it didn't, and this time we got the break. And what's even more exciting is that we capitalized on it."
After scoring a fourth place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 - his previous career-best until last Sunday's Michigan run - Riggs still hopes to make it to victory lane in 2005, maybe as soon as this week's trip to Bristol Motor Speedway.
"I love Bristol and finished 10th there at the spring event," he said. "We have momentum and want to keep it going."