Riggs hopes to remain with Gillett-Evernham
On Aug. 1, Scott Riggs technically became a free agent NASCAR driver, but he'd like to remain at Gillett-Evernham Motorsports to drive its No. 10 Dodge. He has, however, spoken with other teams in the past few months, including Robert Yates Racing, he told ESPN.com Wednesday.
Riggs said he is tired of skipping around from team-to-team, and feels GEM is a place he can consistently win races and be competitive. He "couldn't have better teammates," than Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler, and said team owners George Gillett and Ray Evernham assure him he's their guy.
"I feel like I've put in a lot of heart, sweat, blood and tears into this organization, and I believe in all the people that are there," Riggs said. "There are other opportunities becoming available and opening up, and other people I've talked to. But to be honest with you I'm tired of moving around, tired of going somewhere different.
"I have talked to Doug Yates and have a lot of respect for those guys. Their engines were in our cars when I was driving Busch, so had a lot of history there. I have talked to them about their future and they've inquired about my future.
"When George Gillett and Ray Evernham look you in the eye and shake your hand and tell you the future is secure, it's hard to not put respect and trust in that."
Riggs said the chief holdup in his contract negotiations with GEM is individual team sponsorships and, interestingly, what drivers will be in which cars.
Might drivers actually switch teams?
"Could," Riggs said. "There's a lot of bigger things in the works, and bigger ideas on the table than anyone, knows about. That includes me. The Gilletts have a lot bigger ideas and plans than anybody really lets on.
"They have ideas for a bigger organization. They look for putting different teams together, making alliances with other teams to get a lot of different avenues to better not just Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, but all the Dodge teams, or several of the Dodge teams."
Riggs currently ranks 37th in both the Nextel Cup driver and owner standings. He must qualify on-time for each race, and was replaced by Patrick Carpentier at Watkins Glen last week. He admits that was frustrating, but again sees the greatest potential for his career at GEM.
"They continue to tell me they want me to be a part of the organization in the future and I just need to keep working hard and stay focused on the job at hand, trying get all three of these cars back to the competitive side," he said.
"We're all struggling and we all know that and they continue to tell me they want me there, and once they get all the sponsors and all the logistics worked out of which car is going to be fielded for which driver and what driver's going to be in what car next year, they assure me they have a place for me."
Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.