CONCORD, N.C. -- Scott Riggs raced his way into the All-Star
Challenge with a dominating victory in the Nextel Open.
Riggs started on the pole and led all but one lap of the 30-lap
sprint to easily beat Jeff Green to the finish line.
"It feels good, but it feels better that we get the chance to
go to the next race," Riggs said before quickly rushing off to
attend to his No. 10 Dodge in the short break before the main
Riggs has come a long way from three months ago, when he failed
to make the season-opening Daytona 500. Driving a new car for owner
Ray Evernham, the team wasn't guaranteed a spot in the field and
struggled to find enough speed to qualify.
But in the 10 races since, Riggs has worked himself up to 26th
in the points and is ahead of the likes of Bobby Labonte, Michael
Waltrip and teammate Jeremy Mayfield -- all of whom have run one
more race than Riggs.
"We've been making marks and getting better," Riggs said.
"There's not a lot of notice yet because we're a new team, but
we're getting there."
Meanwhile, the grassroots campaign to get Kyle Petty into
the All-Star Challenge was a success, with fans voting the veteran
into the 20th and final spot in the field.
Nextel allows fans to vote one driver into the All-Star event,
and Petty and sponsor Coca-Cola took the unique step of asking for
The "Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction" campaign was launched
earlier this month and several sponsors vowed to give Petty's camp
a $250,000 donation if the driver was voted in.