MARTINSVILLE, VA – Layne Riggs felt he should not have been penalized for the contact with Peyton Sellers that ultimately took Sellers and Bubba Pollard out of contention for the win in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 on Saturday night.
Riggs found himself in the second position with a shot to win at Martinsville Speedway in the second attempt at an overtime finish in Saturday night’s spectacle. He chose the inside line on the restart and, going into turn one, Sellers got out of shape off his front bumper and up into Pollard. When the caution came out, race director Lynn Carroll penalized Riggs for aggressive driving – which was inconsistent with a call made moments earlier not to penalize Sellers when Josh Berry spun off his front bumper.
For his part, Riggs felt he and his fellow competitors in the CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour were not treated fair – which Carroll disputed in a combative press conference later in the evening, noting that number and pit stall selection procedures were changed from national points to time entry blanks were received to be more fair to CARS Tour drivers.
“I just feel like there were a lot of bad calls made tonight about position,” Riggs told Race22.com. “Position means a whole lot here at Martinsville, to be able to choose the inside or outside. I felt like a lot of the CARS Tour guys were not getting treated fair, like me and Josh [Berry]. We were 1 and 3 and they put us 2 and 4 and put Sellers and Pollard up front. It’s just little things like that that just boiled over. I wasn’t intentionally trying to wreck anybody, I was just trying, Peyton went down there and hit Josh, took him out, and no penalty is done. Then I do the same thing trying to win the race.
“I’m not trying to take him out, I’m just trying to win. What are you going to do? It’s Martinsville.”
Race director Lynn Carroll defended the decision to penalize Riggs and not penalize Sellers in a contentious post-race press conference on Saturday night.
“We watched the situation,” Carroll said. “The first car we penalized, he just made a bonsai move on the left side and piledrives the cars and drove them all up together. If the car does an aggressive driving, then we penalize him. If we think, in our judgement they’re at fault, they piledrove or whatever, they were too aggressive. Some situations we had were beating and banging back and forth was as much one as the other. Anybody we felt went in there and just took some cars out.
“Some of those guys went in there so hard, if they didn’t hit another car, they were going to hit the wall. There was no way they were going to stop the car they went in there so fast. It’s a judgement call.”
Carroll said both incidents were also reviewed by watching video replay.
The incident left Pollard, a veteran of Super Late Model racing who found himself with a legitimate shot at winning his first race in a Late Model Stock Car, angered by the Bahama, North Carolina teenager. Pollard went to confront Riggs after the race as an army watched on pit road and thousands cheered him on in the stand. When Riggs parked his car, prior to Pollard coming over to discuss the incident, he put both hands in the air as the fans cheered.
“I don’t want to get any beef with anybody,” Riggs stated. “I don’t want anybody to dislike me. I know a lot of fans come to Martinsville for a show and I felt like I wanted a lot of them on my side for this and I wanted to see how many were on it. The fans supported the race, they come every year, and they always get a show.”
Riggs, who is the son of former NASCAR driver Scott Riggs, said after the race he was not trying to be the villain and that Sellers would have done the same thing.
“I’m not trying to be a villain or anything,” Riggs said. “Peyton Sellers and Pollard, I know they would have done the same if they in the same position as me. I’m not trying to wreck anybody. I’m not trying to take anybody’s race from them. I’m just trying to win.”
Polard was unavailable for comment after the incident.