CHINA GROVE, N.C. (June 19, 2011) – Robert Richardson, Jr. and Scott Riggs had two different goals for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
Richardson, who was locked in via Owner’s Points in the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge, needed to go the distance and take the checkered flag. Riggs, out of the Owner’s Points in the No. 03 North Texas Pipe Chevrolet, needed to race his way into the event.
When all was said and done after all 125 laps were completed around the two-mile oval, both accomplished their missions.
Once the green flag waved, both cars moved into the mid-30s for the early going and would remain there for the first dozen laps. However, when the first caution waved on lap 45, Riggs was already forced to the garage area with engine woes.
With his race day done, it left Richardson to run to the checkered flag in the No. 23 Dodge. As the laps ticked down on the shorter-than normal event; Walter Giles, crew chief, and the R3 Motorsports team kept making adjustments to go along with the changing track conditions.
After taking four tires, fuel and making chassis adjustments on the first pit stop, Richardson returned to action with his sights set to pick up more positions. Because MIS is such a large track, running position becomes paramount as drivers try to maintain pace with the leaders.
By the halfway point, only 24 cars were on that important lead lap. When a caution waved on lap 95, it caught some teams out of planned sequences for pit stops. Others had already pitted under green, while others still needed that one last stop to make it to lap 125.
Richardson got caught in that shuffle and was left on his own lap with one other car for the rest of the race. When the checkered flag did wave, the No. 23 Dodge was credited with a 31st place finish while Riggs ended up 37th.
Next week is the first, of three, road course races with Alex Kennedy in the No. 23 Media Master/St. Baldrick’s Dodge at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes: “We did what we set out to do by finishing the race this weekend here in Michigan. Yes, we would have liked a better finish, but those long, green flag runs didn’t allow us the chances to come down pit road and make the adjustments we needed. So, we’ll take what we can from here and move on to the next race. Alex is in the car at Road America, and I’ll be back in the No. 23 at Daytona. I’m looking forward to that race, for sure.”
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No. 23 Wildlife Conservation Dodge
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