Riggs Takes Open Pole

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CONCORD, N.C. - Scott Riggs topped Friday's qualifying session for the NEXTEL Open putting his Evernham Motorsports Valvoline Dodge in the top spot for Saturday night's preliminary to the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

We were really happy with the car in race trim. All the guys did a good job. This is an older car we’ve been working with. We came here and tested both times and felt good about it. We felt good in race trim. We put it in qualifying trim and I almost busted my tail on both laps. I went back to the motor home. They said to forget about it and they would fix it. They did. I think we’ll be really good in race trim.

“That’s great to get the pole. I wish we could have got it in a points race and start on the front row in a points race. I’m just glad all these guys on the Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge dug down deep. They said they’d try to give me a good car and make up for how bad the car was last week. I think we’ll be real good in the race.

“We were pretty fast and pretty happy with the car in race trim. We went out to make a qualifying run at the end of practice and pretty much crashed on both laps. We weren’t real happy with it. The guys made some really smart decisions to make some changes. We went with scuffed tires. Goodyear brought a tire here that is capable of handling any kind of speeds and any kind of loads we can put on ‘em. The main objective right now is to win the race so we can be in the All-Star Challenge.

“That lap I did in qualifying, the car felt just like it did in race trim. It felt very solid, very underneath me. It felt great. It’s an older car we brought here twice. We did a Goodyear tire test and brought it back for Open testing with a new car. Still, the older car seemed to prevail. In race trim I was really happy with the car and the way it drove. As soon as they made some changes to put it in qualifying trim, it was a handful. It was scary. I almost crashed twice. I’m really tickled with the way all the guys on the team made the changes to get the car to drive better in qualifying trim. As soon as I came off turn four coming to the green I knew how down in the racetrack the car felt. I didn’t know how good it was going to be, but I felt it was good enough to be in the top three.

“Being on the pole I feel pretty good about it. If I was on the outside pole or further back I don’t know how I would feel about it. The track is really fast. I’m really glad to see how wide the groove has expanded out. I ran high a couple of laps today. When I say high, it’s the second groove. I think with the tire combination and the track, I think it’s going to be a good combination to have a lot of racing room on the racetrack. I think Goodyear did a good job with tire selection. If we came back with the same tire we would have been a second faster and we would have all been fighting for the bottom.”

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