Layne Riggs returned to CARS Response Energy Tour victory lane Saturday night at Kingsport Speedway (TN), outdueling the venue’s defending track champion on a series of late-race restarts for the win.
Riggs battled with Kres VanDyke throughout the race, as the two drivers were the class of the field. VanDyke held the lead on Lap 74 when the yellow flag wove for a competition caution, which is issued after 40 consecutive green flag laps per the CARS Tour rulebook.
“In the beginning, when he was out there almost a straightaway on me, I said there’s no way I can win this race,” Riggs told Speed51.com in victory lane. “He’s got the fastest car. I’ve just got to do the best I can."
“We got that competition caution and I said this is where I’ve got to make it count,” Riggs said. “I drove the wheels off it. I think we touched a little bit, but that’s just racing. It was good. He’s a class act. He gave me room."
Riggs stretched out a lead over the next green-flag run, but late cautions brought VanDyke back within striking distance. Riggs took the outside line on the restart and maintained his lead, but the caution quickly flew again for a separate incident. Again, Riggs held his own on the outside line, this time securing the win with another solid restart.
“When I was the control car, I took the outside because he’s a good enough racer, I knew I could trust him on the outside,” Riggs said. “We had a really good car, and it got better throughout the race. I felt like they slowed down during the race, and it played out perfectly for us.”
For Riggs, the win is a monumental one after a rough season on the Late Model Stock touring series, one year removed from competing for its title going into the finale at South Boston Speedway (VA).
“Getting a CARS Tour win means so much,” Riggs said. “We struggled to get top tens at the beginning of the year. We just kept working on the cars, late nights at the shop behind the house.
“It’s all starting to come together now,” Riggs continued. “We’re starting to figure these race cars out.”
Riggs acknowledged that the long green-flag run where he trailed VanDyke offered several lessons, as he studied the driver who has won numerous races at “The Concrete Jungle,” as well as three NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Tennessee State Championships.
“Kres taught me a lot when I was following him,” Riggs explained. “I was figuring out where he was beating me at and I was able to use it against him later in the race. I knew he was looser than I was, so he could go through the center and stay low. I couldn’t stay that low, but when I got back in the throttle I was a lot better than him."
While Riggs and VanDyke battled for the top spot, Lee Pulliam charged from the rear of the field to come home third, following a poor qualifying effort and a decision to work on the car thereafter, placing him at the rear of the field.
“I just drove the hell out of it, really,” Pulliam said. “We passed a ton of race cars and kept losing spots on the restarts. We had a good piece, I’m proud of the guys. We had a car that could have won. I’m not exactly sure what happened in qualifying.
“If we had started up front, I think we could have won the thing,” Pulliam added. “Or at least raced hard for the win.”
The CARS Tour returns to action August 4 for the Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). The second annual event is one of the most hyped on the CARS Tour schedule, as throwback paint schemes and historical guests of honor converge on "The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars," a venue that has produced some of the most exciting races in the series.
Race fans can relive Saturday's CARS Tour race at Kingsport by visiting our Trackside Now updates. Click here to see the live updates from the event.
CARS Tour LMSC Unofficial Results
Kingsport Speedway (TN) - July 14, 2018