NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Truck Series Playoffs Begin with Familiar Winner, Usual Chaos
Jul 30, 2022
It was a long weekend for Layne Riggs, but a rewarding one.
On Friday, Riggs made his NASCAR Camping World Series debut at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, finishing seventh driving for Halmar Friesen Racing. Then, it was a quick overnight trip back to North Carolina and an early Saturday morning drive to Virginia, where Riggs won at Dominion Raceway in his Late Model Stock Car, continuing his pursuit of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National Championship.
Riggs, the son of NASCAR veteran Scott Riggs, impressed in his first NASCAR National series start on Friday night, taking his No. 62 Toyota from 23rd on the starting grid to a top-10 finish.
With just a handful of laps in practice to acclimate to a new vehicle and track, Riggs admits there were some nerves going in to Friday night's race.
"Going in, I was a little nervous going to the track," Riggs told Racing America. "This is a big stage, we're on TV, we've really got to make a good impression. We were okay in practice. I felt like I got better and made good adjustments, but at the same time, I needed to learn the truck.
"We made some big adjustments for qualifying and I wasn't expecting it. We had a pretty poor qualifying effort, but we got my head back straight, started the race and I feel like we had one of the fastest trucks on the track. After the first pit stop, we ended up going a lap down. We regrouped and rallied back in the last stage to finish seventh, it was pretty amazing."
That was just the start of Riggs' weekend, as he flew overnight back to North Carolina. After just a couple of hours of sleep, he and his Late Model team were headed north to Virginia.
"Let's just say I'm still recovering on sleep. It was a very sleepless weekend. We got up, went to Indy Thursday night. That was about the last night I got good sleep. We qualified, practiced and raced all in one day, got on the plane, got back to Statesville at 2 [a.m.], drove back to my house, got there at 4, took a shower, got to sleep about 5 and had to wake up at 6:30 to head to Dominion."
It was worth the trip, however, as Riggs scored a win and a fourth-place finish in the Blake Morris Memorial Twin 72s, which will undoubtedly help his cause in the pursuit of a national championship.
"We had to work all day, bust our tails in the sun, but we came away with the victory. We got back home and went to sleep for about 14 hours, it felt like, but the hard work and dedication always pays off in the end.
While Riggs will have a few days to catch up on missed sleep from the weekend, he'll undoubtedly be back at the track this weekend looking to add to his 13 NASCAR Weekly Series wins in 2022. Whether it's competing against the local standouts at tracks such as Dominion or South Boston Speedway, or racing alongside fellow championship hopeful Peyton Sellers - who won the second Twin 72 at Dominion this weekend - it's a never-ending journey.
"We just have to stay on our A game and be sharp every weekend when we go to the race track and know that we've got the car to win the race and just keep our head straight. We go to all these tracks and they have really good competition with these locals. We have to change what we do and have a different mindset at each race track.
"It takes a lot of time and work in the shop. Me and dad, Robert, Dale and everybody at the shop, everybody comes and volunteer and help us out after they get done with work. It's a lot of late nights and sleepless at times, but it's going to pay off. Right now, I'm tired, I wish we could have a couple of weekends of vacation time, but when we win this National Championship, it's going to be something special."
Riggs also hopes last weekend proves to be an impressive audition as he aims to climb the racing ladder.
"The first impression is always the best impression. I feel like, for our first race, we made a good first impression on the Truck Series field and everyone watching on TV. I'm just really happy that Halmar-Friesen Racing gave me a good piece. Thanks to Trip Bruce and Stewart for giving me the opportunity. I'm thankful to Puryear Tank Links and Infinity Communications and all of them as well, to put up the funding to do it.
"I went in, tried to drive it like a Late Model, being really confident in myself, and it paid off in the end. Of course, I want to win every race I'm at, but considering I only had about 12 laps of practice, new car, new tire compound and construction and a new track I'm trying to learn all on the spot, I think I came out pretty successful."
Perhaps most importantly, Riggs comes out of the weekend with the confidence that he can compete on a stage such as the Truck Series after scoring a top-10 finish in his first race.
"It's something I want to keep doing. The best way I can describe it is, I feel like I belonged in that series, and I feel like my performance showed. It just made me even hungrier to want to win a Truck race."
-Photo credit: Bruce Nuttleman