For the briefest of moments, it seemed like déjà vu for Layne Riggs.
After qualifying on the outside front row and spending the entirety of the CARS Tour Late Model Stock season opener inside the top-five, the second-generation racer was involved in an incident with Brandon Pierce.
As has happened so many times over the past two years, the No. 99 unloaded as one of the fastest cars and was in contention to win before having it stripped away by something not of his own making.
It happened again on Saturday, but he recovered to a fifth place by the end of the race.
Pierce was inside of Riggs for fifth on Lap 120 when contact between the two sent the No. 99 around out of Turn 2. The damage was minimal, but on an afternoon where it was difficult to pass, getting back to fifth was the best-case outcome for the son of NASCAR veteran Scott Riggs.
“It was pretty rough out there today,” Riggs said. “A lot of games being played with the different tire strategies. Guys taking and not giving at all. I feel like the guys who were up front were being smart and just trying to save to get to where they can race.
“Then I fell back a little bit and that’s where things get chaotic and people who should probably stay in the back where they are. I had a pretty good car. I might have had a shot at the end of I didn’t get caught up in that ruckus. I was just trying to stay on the bottom, got hit from behind and (that) cut my left rear, so to finish fifth is really impressive.”
Pierce wasn’t totally comfortable taking the blame on the incident with Riggs, despite owning-up to a different crash later in the race that destroyed the car driven by Tommy Lemons Jr.
“With Layne, I just felt like he didn’t give me a lane,” Pierce said. “I haven’t talked to him yet, but I’m sure we will. Layne and I race each other pretty clean. We always have. I think he knows what I was trying to do and I know what he was trying to do. Right there, I gassed up and he was coming down, I caught his left rear fender and it jumped.”
Riggs would have preferred to hear that story from Pierce personally instead of relayed through the media.
“I would have liked to hear it from him,” Riggs said. “He should have come here after the race. But if he wants to be that way, that’s just the way it is. We finished fifth, made the most out of it, and now we’re going to Hickory and we’re going to try to win it.”