Sometime in the future, years from now, Layne Riggs may look back on Wednesday’s CARS Late Model Stock Tour event at Caraway Speedway, and think of how it changed the complexion of his career.
A native of Bahama, North Carolina, Riggs was able to climb behind the wheel of the No. 62 Morton Buildings Ford Mustang for the first time on Wednesday, competing for 60-time NASCAR Cup Series winner Kevin Harvick, in the Kevin Harvick Incorporated entry.
…and wouldn’t you know, the 21-year-old son of Scott Riggs can wheel a Late Model Stock Car, making the final pass for the lead on Carson Kvapil of JR Motorsports with 57 laps remaining in Wednesday’s 125-lap contest.
The victory, an emotional one for several reasons, is the seventh in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour for Riggs, and his first triumph in the series since scoring the victory at Ace Speedway in May 2021, more than two years ago.
“I just can’t believe it,” said Riggs after climbing from his car. “Thank you to DeLana [Harvick], Rodney [Childers], and Kevin [Harvick]. God, I did not think we were going to win tonight, I just drove the best I could. I knew the No. 8 [Kvapil] was really strong, the No. 14 [Fryar] was good there at the end, too.”
The deal, which led to the opportunity for Riggs to drive the so-called “best car of his career”, came in part because of his father, former NASCAR competitor Scott Riggs, who formerly drove for a Late Model for DeLana Harvick’s father, John Paul Linville.
“I have to dedicate this win to John Paul Linville, DeLana’s dad. My dad drove for him back in the day and he’s kind of the reason I was able to do this tonight. I’m so happy, right now,” Riggs continued, wiping away tears in victory lane.
Jared Fryar, piloting the No. 14, attempted to mount a charge on Riggs in the closing laps of the race, but was unable to close the gap, settling for a second-place finish in a continuance of his partial schedule in the series.
“I think with the ass-whooping we put on tonight, that’s going to be pretty hard to beat,” said Riggs when asked how this victory ranks among his many others. “Rodney built a rocketship, that thing is so fast, I’m so glad I got to drive this car, it’s amazing.
“I spent a lot of time in the shop this week trying to learn about it, trying to figure out what they do, what kind of adjustments they made, and I did my homework, I wanted it so bad. I’m very thankful.”
Mason Diaz recovered from a 20th-place qualifying to climb to a third-place finish at Caraway, while Carson Kvapil, the series point leader, and Kaden Honeycutt completed the top-five finishers in Wednesday’s 125-lap contest.
Bobby McCarty came home in sixth place, after being involved in an early-race incident with Dylan Ward and being sent to the rear of the field. Brenden Queen came home in seventh, after fading in the race’s final run.
2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, finished eighth in his CARS Late Model Stock Tour debut for JR Motorsports, after becoming a mainstay inside the top-10 during the second half of the race. Cameron Bolin and Mini Tyrrell completed the top-10.
Both Rodney Childers, crew chief of the No. 62 Ford Mustang, and Kevin Harvick, owner of Kevin Harvick Incorporated, were ecstatic about the victory by Riggs, and were more than pleased when spoken to after the race.
“An awesome night and an awesome couple of days,” said Rodney Childers, crew chief of the No. 62. “Really appreciate the fans that come out, there’s probably a few out there that watched me go around this place, and that’s much appreciated. Just a really cool race, really cool to have Layne in the car, back in the No. 62, the old number for John Paul [Linville].
“I’ve had a ton of help over the last year getting this thing put together, a lot of different people. I think all of those people know who they are, and I don’t have to sit here and name them all, but we couldn’t have done it without all of the people. Really a lot of fun, it means a lot to be here with Scott and Layne, and of course Kevin for letting us all do this.”
Harvick, who is set to retire from NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of this season, commented on how special this victory is, not just for his family, but for everyone involved in putting this Kevin Harvick Incorporated entry on track.
“It feels really good,” Harvick said. “I think for us as a family and the Riggs family – and even Rodney. Rodney was Scott Riggs, Layne’s dad’s crew chief, so to be able to put the two families back together and come out and watch Layne show his talents, and be able to run in front of this amazing crowd.”
The 60-time winner at NASCAR’s top-level, says his involvement in the CARS Late Model Tour, at least as a car owner, wasn’t always part of the plan. Earlier in the season at North Wilkesboro, Harvick raced the No. 62 Ford in a CARS Tour event.
“To be on the car owner side was really kind of an accident,” Harvick continued. “I blame it on Dale [Earnardt, Jr.], that’s what I tell my wife, it’s his fault we have all these cars. I love watching the people work together and everything come together and being able to put the cars on the racetrack and watch other people succeed is fun to be a part of.”
This win in particular, on a Wednesday in June at Caraway Speedway, is one that will be remembered for a long time by all who had a part in it, as the deal was put together to honor a long-standing theme in racing: family traditions.