RIGGS DOES IT RIGHT IN FIRST ARCA RACE By Don Radebaugh
Hemphill's Charge Runs Out Of Gas
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Flagstar 200 at Michigan Int’l Speedway on Saturday, June 19 with same-day coverage on SPEED Channel at 8 pm eastern.
Jarrett finished sixth in the Gladiator GarageWorks-Bennigan’s Chevrolet in front of Hemphill and Mark Gibson, who was eighth in the Williams Bros Lumber Chevrolet. Kimmel, who struggled with an engine miss most of the way, also ran out of gas near the end, but still managed a ninth place finish in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford. Brent Sherman, in the Serta Mattress-Hickory Farms Ford, completed the top-ten finishers.
In addition to the winner’s purse, Riggs received the Bennigan’s Halfway Lap Leader award. Schrader earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors while Hemphill’s Braun Racing Dodge crew received the Gladiator GarageWorks Gladiator of the Race award
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rookie Scott Riggs, in his first ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt, raced the Valvoline Pontiac from 30th to first en route to winning the Pocono ARCA 200 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.
Ryan Hemphill was a threat to win before running out of gas late in the event. (51 Photo)
back up guys in case we need someone to go over the wall. It feels good for those guys to get out here and a good chance for them to get to victory lane.”
Hemphill, who led 39 laps in the TRIMSPA Dodge, still finished seventh. “That’s racing,” said Hemphill. “I’m really proud of my team. We ran up front; we should be proud. We learned a lot and we’ll try and come back in July and win one then.”
Red-hot rookie Ryan Hemphill, who was slowly chewing away at Riggs’s lead inside of ten laps remaining, got within five lengths of the leader when the Apollo, Pennsylvania driver ran out of gas two laps shy of the finish.
With Hemphill gone from the mix, Riggs easily cruised to the checkered flag with Ken Schrader, the only other driver on lead lap, trailing in second a full straightaway behind.
Riggs, looking to gain experience and confidence, more than likely got a little of both while he worked the tricky 2.5-mile triangle for the first time in his career.
“Running the ARCA race today really helped me out,” said Riggs. “Especially at a place like this that I’ve never been to. I’m just proud of all the guys on the Valvoline GM car today because these are all the guys that pretty much don’t get to come to the racetrack. Guys that are
Schrader, who started 32nd in the BAM Racing Four Winds Motorhomes Dodge, led eight laps but could not mount the necessary challenge when it counted most.
“Scott (Riggs) had the car,” said Schrader. “We were a third place car and one ran out of fuel. We came here to help our Cup deal. And I think it’s working because we were already better this morning in (Cup) happy hour.”
AJ Henriksen, who started 31st in the McAdams Painting-ECC Ford, finished third, one lap down in front of Billy Venturini, who finished fourth in the Hawk Saw Blades-Mahle Pistons Chevrolet. Bobby Gerhart, in his first race back since Daytona, finished a solid fifth in the Lucas Oil Pontiac.
With Pork Pole qualifying rained out on Thursday, the field was lined by current car owner points putting point leader Frank Kimmel on the pole alongside Hemphill. At the onset, Hemphill took the lead and stretched his advantage to ten lengths over Kimmel, Venturini and Jason Jarrett while Riggs, Schrader and Henriksen charged from the back.
Then Riggs, during an early caution, pitted out of sequence with the leaders, all of whom stayed out. But the pit strategy worked out when the remaining front-runners, cursed with a long green flag run, were forced to pit under green just before the 40-lap mark while Riggs stayed out. Soon after, the only other caution of the race came out when AJ Fike blew an engine just in time for Riggs to make his badly needed and final pitstop for fuel and tires on lap 44 of the 80-lap, 200-mile race. With Riggs good to go the distance, the Bahama, North Carolina driver quickly raced through the field, blew by Schrader and Hemphill on the low side in turn three on lap 55 and never looked back. Hemphill, who last pitted on lap 38, needed help from the caution flag to stretch his fuel mileage to the end, but the yellow flags never came.
Riggs' (99) was running to help him fro Sunday's Cup race at Pocono.
NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Scott Riggs won in his first career ARCA start. (ARCA Photo)