A frustrating 2021 season for Layne Riggs continued at Dominion Raceway on Saturday evening.
After being unable to keep pace with the leaders during the first 80 laps, Riggs found himself behind the wall in the 19th position following a collision between him and Jonathan Shafer.
While Riggs was unhappy with Shafer, he admitted that his issues started long before the crash took place.
“I’m just dumbfounded by the way we ran,” Riggs said. “There was absolutely no long run speed or any speed in general. I’m really confused on what we need to do with our program to make us better.”
Optimism was high for Riggs and his team entering Dominion after he led nine laps at the track last year. He initially had one of the fastest cars in practice before fading to 17th in the final session.
A dismal qualifying run put Riggs 18th on the grid for the initial start. With the car not to his liking, Riggs made a pit stop during the first competition caution for an adjustment that did little to increase his overall speed.
Riggs had only gained a handful of positions before being eliminated from the race on Lap 83. He showed his displeasure towards Shafer under the ensuing caution and criticized him for being overly-aggressive
“When I was down in the middle of the corner, [Shafer] just got into the back of me and spun me around,” Riggs said. “We were just trying to finish the race and got wrecked for dead last.”
Shafer, who was also hoping to have a better evening following a strong run at Dominion in 2020, said that he was doing everything possible to pass Riggs but was disappointed that their battle resulted in a crash.
“I gave Layne about three love taps to let him know I was there,” Shafer said. “I got to his inside and he came down on my nose. He also gave us some damage under caution which I wasn’t happy about but that’s just racing.”
Like Riggs, Shafer was struggling with an ill-handling car all evening and added that the contact with Riggs only exacerbated his issues and prevented him from moving through the field during the last green flag run.
“We were struggling with the center and off,” Shafer said. “At the center of the corner, we got pretty tight and that caused us to be loose off. We made a trackbar adjustment but it was still tight in the center and that hurt us a lot.”
Despite finishing 15th, Shafer believes that he is starting to make progress in his first season with Lee Pulliam Performance and is eager to learn more over the second half of the season.
Riggs is explicitly focused on rewarding his team’s hard work with victories after poor finishes earlier in the 2021 season effectively knocked him out of championship contention.
With a victory under his belt this year at Ace Speedway, Riggs knows his car is capable of racing at the front but said that a perfect setup is imperative against a competitive CARS Tour field.
“We’re just going to try and run better,” Riggs said. “We have to adjust the setup so we can be faster but the field is getting so tight that it’s so hard to get ahead nowadays. Everyone else has stepped their game up, so we need to do the same.”
Riggs will have plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments for turning his season around before heading to Hickory Motor Speedway for the Throwback 276 on July 31.