Carter Langley Chasing First CARS Tour Win in Jacksonville
Apr 20, 2022
To make it to NASCAR, Layne Riggs is going NASCAR racing.
This will make sense in a second.
After starting the season with five wins and a runner-up in his first six starts at South Boston Speedway in Virginia, the 20-year-old second generation racer from Bahama, North Carolina has decided to chase the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship
Simultaneously, he began the CARS Tour season with a DNF at Caraway but recovered with finishes of third and fourth at Hickory and Greenville and is sixth in the championship standings with three quarters of the season still to go.
But considering his head start in the South Boston and NASCAR Weekly Series championship, the decision was an easy one and it was made public this past week.
"We've run CARS Tour the past five seasons and we didn't sign up for the Touring 12 this year because we wanted to have the flexibility to run some top-three NASCAR races," Riggs said.
More on that in a moment.
"We just couldn't commit to the tour, even if we still plan to race with them every chance we get," Riggs said. "We only planned to run the season opener at South Boston because it was close to home and we swept the weekend.
"So why wouldn't we go back, right? Well, we swept that weekend too. At that point, you can't really do CARS Tour and chase a national championship, so we'd have to make a choice."
Riggs said Lee Pulliam, Josh Berry and Peyton Sellers have all told him that it makes sense to keep chasing NASCAR points once they started off this strong. Berry went NASCAR points racing in 2020 only after he earned a one race CARS Tour suspension for a retaliatory action on Bobby McCarty at Ace Speedway.
He went to Hickory that weekend, swept a twin 50 program and the rest was history.
"Peyton says he’s not going for the national championship this year," Riggs said. "I’m not sure I believe him yet because he’s right there with us through the first month, but let’s say he’s not, and that would open the door for a driver from the Midwest or California to have a shot.
"I’d really like to keep the national championship in the southeast. That’s something we take a lot of pride in between Josh, Peyton, Lee and all those guys, and we’d love to do it too."
Riggs is also a mechanical engineering student at UNC Charlotte and spends his weekdays in class while racing on weekends. He says he couldn’t do it without his dad, Cup Series veteran Scott Riggs, who keeps the car prepared at the family shop while also working the phone to get the six-time CARS Tour race winner in a competitive Truck Series or Xfinity ride this summer.
"I couldn't do any of this without Dad," Riggs said. "I don't see him at all during the week and only during race weekends, but I just have good people around me all across the board. We're really hoping to move up this year, but it takes the right partners, the right timing too. But I really hope you're going to see us in the Xfinity Series or Trucks this year."
And that also factored into their decision to chase NASCAR national championship points.
Winning the national championship comes with numerous marketing activation, media opportunities and a spotlight from the offices in Daytona Beach and Charlotte.
"To go NASCAR racing, we decided to go NASCAR racing as it were," Riggs said. "We really love being a part of the CARS Tour and I still want to win a championship there, but at the end of the day, there’s something really special about being able to add ‘NASCAR national champion’ to your resume.
This will be a championship pursuit like none other for Riggs over the past half-decade. Instead of a dozen races of putting together the most consistency possible, Riggs will now have to chase full fields of at least 16 cars. That will mean going to races at Dominion, Langley and maybe Hickory during South Boston off-weekends.
The NASCAR national points system takes the 18 best finishes over the year with passing point bonuses, so Riggs is hoping to continue winning at his early pace. He's already five wins in after all.
Riggs has always had speed over the years but was often besieged by bad luck in CARS Tour competition or in marquee races like the Martinsville 300.
He cites a new car from PRW Chassis to the improved results thus far.
"We started from scratch with our notebook," Riggs said. "We took every mistake we made from the past five years and started with just the things we've done right and built on that. I think we have the means to go get the national championship and everything that comes with that. We’re excited to see what happens this summer."