Layne Riggs’ trek toward full-time NASCAR national series racing took another step forward with his first Xfinity Series top-10 finish Saturday.
“It was a lot better than we did at Texas where we dipped our foot in the water and learned what not to do,” Riggs said.
In September at Texas, Riggs had an issue in practice and qualifying and started last. He never cracked the top 15 and finished 19th.
In contrast, the second-generation driver moved from ninth to fourth in stage one and placed fifth in stage two.
Five cautions plagued 26 of the first 96 laps Saturday but the rest of the way went green.
“Early on, just trying to figure out the air more. Everyone was on the tighter side and we weren’t ahead of that but we made adjustments accordingly,” Riggs said.
While 104 consecutive green-flag laps were a challenge for him in just his fourth speedway start, Riggs learned and finished 10th, on the lead lap.
“It was an awesome day. We accomplished all our goals, finished inside the top-10 and didn’t get any damage. I wanna thank Infinity Communications. This just proves again why I belong in the national series,” Riggs said.
Riggs has excelled on the short tracks and was the NASCAR Weekly Series champion last year. However, Saturday was just his eighth opportunity in the NASCAR national series.
Saturday was his third top-10 finish in those starts but Riggs believes he could’ve done even better.
“If I knew and learned what I did at the end of the race, and applied it to the beginning, I think we could’ve finished sixth or seventh easy,” Riggs said.
If the name Riggs sounds familiar, it is because he is the son of 2004 NASCAR Cup Series rookie Scott Riggs. Scott and Layne embraced each other and talked post-race.
“He was proud of me. He said he was waiting for me to hit the wall when I was running the high side and was on edge with the little bit of experience running up there. But, he said I did a really good job,” Riggs said.
Riggs’ next race with Kaulig Racing is at Martinsville Speedway, a half-mile track more in line with his short-track background.
“The short track scene, a lot of these guys don’t run every week, I feel like these guys are coming to more of my wheelhouse. I’m excited for it. If we finish without damage, we’ll finish top-10 like we did today. Maximizing and capitalizing,” he said.
Looking ahead to the 2024 NASCAR season, Riggs hasn’t solidified any plans yet.
“Today and Martinsville, if we run well, is just a stepping stone,” Riggs said. “It’s tough to get a limited number of starts but I know I have to capitalize every time and hope the right people are watching and can give me the opportunity to go full-time.”
Riggs received support from Infinity Communications in four of his five NASCAR national series starts this year. They will be on the car at Martinsville.