Sunday, August 5, 2012

CUP: Scott Riggs Joins Battle for the 2012 LASTCAR Cup Championship at Pocono

SOURCE: Rubbin's Racin'
Scott Riggs picked up the 6th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 at the Pocono Raceway when his #23 North Texas Pipe Chevrolet fell out with brake problems after completing 9 of the race’s 98 laps.

The finish was Riggs’ third of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and his first since the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, four races ago.

Riggs qualified 33rd at an average speed of 171.916 mph, ranking him second among the nine "go-or-go-homers" who attempted to qualify. Further down the rankings, rookie Stephen Leicht picked up his first DNQ since Darlington, allowing Humphrey-Smith Racing to have two cars in the race for the first time. One week after missing the show at Indianapolis, Reed Sorenson qualified Humphrey-Smith’s #91 Toyota in the 40th spot.

On Sunday, Riggs beat Sorenson to the garage area by one lap, followed by Mike Skinner in the #98 Ford typically driven by Michael McDowell, who was competing in Iowa the previous night. J.J. Yeley finished 16 laps ahead of Skinner in MaxQ Motorsports’ first race since Las Vegas in March, while Mike Bliss, Sorenson’s teammate and last week’s 43rd-place runner, came home 39th in the Humphrey-Smith #19.

With the finish, Riggs is now in a four-way tie for the LASTCAR Sprint Cup Driver’s Championship along with Josh Wise, Michael McDowell, and Scott Speed. Riggs’ entry into the top spot has changed the complexion of the title chase based on his lead in the tiebreaker: Riggs has 12 bottom-five finishes to Wise’s 11, McDowell’s 9, and Speed’s 5. Wise finished out of the Bottom Five on Sunday while McDowell and Speed did not compete in the race at all, giving Riggs the edge heading to Watkins Glen.

As of this writing, it is not clear if Riggs will compete at Watkins Glen as the #23 R3 Motorsports team did not enter the previous road course race at Sonoma.

*This was Riggs’ second last-place finish in a Cup race at Pocono. The other occurred in 2011, when Riggs’ #81 Whitney’s Collision Chevrolet suffered brake problems after 17 laps of the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono.
*The #23 had never before finished last in a Cup race at Pocono.

43) #23-Scott Riggs / 9 laps / brakes
42) #91-Reed Sorenson / 10 laps / brakes
41) #98-Mike Skinner / 26 laps / rear gear
40) #37-J.J. Yeley / 27 laps / brakes
39) #19-Mike Bliss / 29 laps / overheating

1st) Michael McDowell, Scott Riggs, Scott Speed, Josh Wise (3)
2nd) J.J. Yeley (2)
3rd) Trevor Bayne, Mike Bliss, Landon Cassill, Brendan Gaughan, Joe Nemechek, David Ragan, Reed Sorenson (1)

1st) #23-R3 Motorsports, #26-Front Row Motorsports, #98-Phil Parsons Racing (3)
2nd) #49-Robinson-Blakeney Racing, #95-Leavine Family Racing (2)
3rd) #19-Humphrey-Smith Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #33-Richard Childress Racing, #34-Front Row Motorsports, #74-Turn One Racing, #79-Go Green Racing, #83-BK Racing, #87-NEMCO Motorsports (1)

1st) Ford (11)
2nd) Chevrolet, Toyota (5)

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