Layne Riggs will return to the cockpit of his Late Model Stock Car in Saturday night’s Cloer Construction 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway one month after suffering an injury in a dirt bike accident.
Riggs, 16, from Bahama, North Carolina was sidelined after breaking his shoulder blade in a dirt bike crash in April. The injury ultimately resulted missing the CARS Response Energy Tour race at his home track at Orange County Speedway. While Riggs hated being out of the car, he feels his team may be even better when he climbs back in the cockpit of his no. 99 Romeo Guest Construction/Puryear Tank Lines Ford on Saturday night.
“It was a blessing in disguise, us switching spots and my dad [Scott Riggs] driving the car and seeing what I’ve been talking about,” Riggs told Race22.com. “It gave us an opportunity to feel our setups and where we are. We made improvements. We tested [Wednesday] and I think we’re pretty strong. I learned more about the car and being under it and the stress between practice and qualifying and watching it during the race. We learned a lot about setups and I hope it correlates over back to the car.”
Riggs is confident about Hickory after his test session on Wednesday and feels good given past results at Hickory in the tour, which includes two sixth-place finishes.
“I think I’m pretty good at Hickory,” Riggs commented. “I’ve run pretty good there and had some success there. It’s good to go to a track where you run well. Missing Orange County was tough, but it was a blessing in disguise.”
While he feels good, he still expects to have some complications. Performance wise, Riggs feels almost as if he had never stepped out of the car, but he expects to still be feeling some pain in his collarbone.
“It was really exciting getting back in the car, but it felt like I never left at the same time,” Riggs explained. “My collarbone was sore. I think it’s going to be sore the entire weekend, just something I’ve got to bear with. I was running fast times right out of the gate. First lap, I was already complaining about how the car needed to be better. It was more relief being able to feel what it was doing instead of hear what the car was doing.”
With a result of 14th at Tri-County and 11th at Myrtle Beach, Riggs had already felt the championship was out of reach even before his injury, which he sustained just days before the tour was scheduled to go to Wake County Speedway prior to that race’s postponement. On that note, the missed Orange County race did not change Riggs’ approach to the season and his ultimate goal of winning races.
“I feel like we’ve had a rough start to the season,” Riggs remarked. “We haven’t had the best finishes, barely making top-10 and top-15 finishes. We really weren’t looking to win a championship. We’re looking for wins. With the injury and all, we’re just looking for wins the rest of the year and a win is the best way to get your name out there.”
The CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour will compete for 150 laps at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night and will be the second of the two scheduled features. Race22.com will have RaceDay Live updates and CARSTour.TV will have live video coverage of the event.