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May 11, 2024

Layne Riggs all set for LMSC, Truck Series doubleheader at North Wilkesboro

Layne Riggs
(Photo: David Graham)

The NASCAR All-Star Race week at North Wilkesboro Speedway is one Layne Riggs has been looking forward to.

Not only will the 2022 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion get to run his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the prestigious facility, but Riggs is also returning to his Late Model Stock roots that Wednesday evening behind the wheel of the No. 00 Infinity Communications Group Ford for Tom Usry Racing.

Just like last year, North Wilkesboro’s freshly repaved surface presents several unknowns for Riggs and the rest of the field. Despite this, Riggs believes the equipment provided by Usry’s operation and Front Row Motorsports presents him with two perfect opportunities to join a long list of North Wilkesboro winners.

“I’m super excited about our late model deal,” Riggs said. “It was kind of a last-minute deal, but [Tom Usry Racing] said they had an extra car and they wanted to see me in some good equipment. They wanted twice as good of a chance to win the race and they thought I’d be the perfect guy to help them there.”

RELATED: Career stats for Layne Riggs

Driving for a program that honors Usry’s impact in motorsports serves as a full-circle moment for Riggs and his family.

In the 1970s, Riggs’ grandfather Russell accompanied Usry in his attempts to make the Daytona 500. Those trips down to Florida ignited Russell’s passion for racing, which he would pass down to Riggs’ father, Scott, who won nine races between the Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series before embarking on a career in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Although Usry passed away in 2009, Riggs appreciates seeing his influence persist in the Late Model Stock ranks and is fortunate to have a chance at delivering a victory in the same car number Usry utilized until the end of his long career.

“Carrying the No. 00 was my idea,” Riggs said. “They were OK with using the No. 99 if that’s what I wanted, but I thought using the No. 00 would be cooler. This is a throwback, classic team and they were the last team I thought I would get a call from.

“I’m thankful to help carry on [Tom’s] legacy, and this will be a good tribute.”

Riggs’ No. 00 is not the only car being fielded by Usry’s team at North Wilkesboro. He will be joined by Kaden Honeycutt, a fellow Late Model Stock standout who picked up his first victory in an Usry car at Orange County Speedway in March.

Layne Riggs
Before entering the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Layne Riggs enjoyed a solid Late Model Stock career that included a NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series title. (Photo: Andrew Coppley)

Riggs knows having a teammate like Honeycutt to lean on will be beneficial when it comes to finding the perfect balance in his car. A pre-race test at North Wilkesboro in April showed that Riggs was evenly paced with Honeycutt, which has given him plenty of optimism about contending for the win.

That session also gave Riggs an idea of what to expect in a Late Model Stock at the resurfaced North Wilkesboro. He was pleasantly surprised at how much room there was to race around the facility with the fresh pavement, which he believes will lead to auspicious on-track conditions throughout the week.

“The track was smooth,” Riggs said. I was surprised with how high we ran in turns one and two. The Pro Late Models got within a car-length of the outside wall, and that only moved up during the race. There are a lot of people who will run the top, and that’s going to lead to side-by-side racing down the backstretch heading into [turns] three and four.”

“Every series that races there should have a good show to put on.”

No matter how the CARS Tour race turns out for him, the track time at North Wilkesboro on Tuesday and Wednesday can only help Riggs prepare for Saturday’s Wright Brand 250.

Riggs is searching for a jolt of momentum in the Truck Series following a tumultuous start to his rookie campaign. Despite showing speed, bad luck has hindered Riggs through his first eight starts with Front Row, with his only top 10 so far occurring at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Now that he is back in familiar territory, Riggs feels he can improve upon his career-best Truck Series finish of third at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park last year. The only way he can eclipse that milestone is to stay composed and put together a full race.

“I’m glad to go back to another short track,” Riggs said. “We were fast at Bristol and Martinsville, two places that I’m very familiar with. We’ve tried carrying momentum from those races into the other ones, but we’ve had something different go wrong every weekend. Two out of three things go right, but one won’t stick like we need to.

“If we bring a fast truck and make no errors, we’ll be up front at any race we go to.”

Layne Riggs
Layne Riggs enters North Wilkesboro Speedway determined to get his rookie NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season back on track. (Photo: Jacy Norgaard)

Riggs has never doubted his ability to excel in NASCAR’s top divisions during the long, arduous journey toward his current ride. He is not letting an inconsistent rookie year impact his confidence over the remaining 14 weekends.

Climbing into a competitive Late Model Stock ride also brings some much-needed levity for Riggs as he tries to turn his Truck Series season around. A victory in Usry’s No. 00 on Wednesday evening could provide Riggs the necessary jolt to break through in the Truck Series and establish sustainable consistency.

“[Getting two wins at North Wilkesboro] would be massive,” Riggs said. “With the points in the Truck Series, we’re pretty much in a must-win situation to make the playoffs, but that isn’t our mindset. The mindset is to get wins no matter what, but we might as well try to get into the playoffs while we can. Our chemistry is getting better, but a win would just light everybody up.

“Winning fixes everything.”

With a couple of great rides at his disposal, Riggs is ready to shine amongst the all-stars at North Wilkesboro and remind the garage area of the talent he has possessed since his days in a Late Model Stock.