Sunday, June 2, 2013

CUP: Scott Riggs Rounds Out Dover Field In First Cup Start Since April

Scott Riggs picked up the 8th last-place finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at the Dover International Speedway when his #44 No Label Watches Ford lost the transmission after he completed 16 of the race’s 400 laps.

The finish was Riggs’ second of 2013, his first since March, when he was taken out in a single-car crash at Phoenix after 19 laps.

Riggs was making just his fourth Cup Series points race in 2013, all of them for start-up team Xxxtreme Motorsports.  Following the last-place run at Phoenix, the team parked in consecutive races at Fontana and Martinsville, finishing 41st and 42nd, respectively.  After the team’s second DNQ at Texas, Xxxtreme’s distinctive-looking #44 Fords were noticeably absent from the track, save for an appearance in the Sprint Showdown.  Unconfirmed rumors indicated Riggs would be replaced by Mike Bliss starting that week, but Riggs remained and turned in a 22nd-place finish.

Riggs was back in the car at Dover, and better yet, locked into the field.  All three of NASCAR’s top divisions had just enough entries to fill the field, so no teams failed to qualify, and Riggs’ lap of 150.710 mph scored him the 43rd and final starting spot.

Mike Bliss held the 43rd spot early in Sunday’s race, apparently headed to extend his one-finish lead over Michael McDowell in the LASTCAR standings.  However, it was Riggs who pulled out first, besting McDowell by nearly forty laps.  Bliss fell out of the race five laps after McDowell.  Matt Kenseth, who led 29 laps, lost an engine while running 2nd and tumbled to a 40th-place finish.  Travis Kvapil in BK Racing’s #93 rounded out the Bottom Five.

*This was Riggs’ first-ever last-place finish in a Cup Series race at Dover.  He does, however, have two last-place runs at Pocono (June 2011, August 2012), where the series heads next week.
*This was the first last-place finish for the #44 in a Cup Series race at Dover since 2007, when Dale Jarrett’s UPS Toyota lost the engine after 241 laps of the Autism Speaks 400 presented by VISA.

43) #44-Scott Riggs / 16 laps / transmission
42) #98-Michael McDowell / 54 laps / overheating
41) #19-Mike Bliss / 59 laps / rear gear
40) #20-Matt Kenseth / 159 laps / engine / led 29 laps
39) #93-Travis Kvapil / 161 laps / engine

1st) Mike Bliss (4)
2nd) Michael McDowell (3)
3rd) Scott Riggs (2)
4th) Trevor Bayne, Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Scott Speed (1)

1st) #19-Humphrey-Smith Motorsports (4)
2nd) #98-Phil Parsons Racing (3)
3rd) #44-Xxxtreme Motorsports (2)
4th) #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #21-Wood Brothers Racing, #87-NEMCO Motorsports, #95-Leavine Family Racing (1)

1st) Ford (7)
2nd) Toyota (5)
3rd) Chevrolet (1)

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