Winning the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship was not among the goals Layne Riggs had set for himself and his team entering the 2022 season.
That changed after the young racer from Bahama, North Carolina won the first four races of the season at South Boston Speedway. With four wins in a row in hand, and, with wins in five of the track’s first six races by the end of April, his plans changed.
The second-generation racer went on to win the 2022 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship in a battle that went down to the final weekend of the points season. He edged defending NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national champion, Southeast Region champion and South Boston Speedway champion Peyton Sellers of Danville, Virginia to win the national title and become the youngest NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national champion. Sellers, a six-time South Boston Speedway NASCAR track champion, previously held that distinction after winning the national title in 2005.
Along with winning the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship, Riggs won the Southeast Region title and the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division championship.
“South Boston Speedway is where we got most of our wins this season,” Riggs pointed out, noting that 10 of his 16 wins this season came at the .4-mile oval. “That was pretty much our little “honey hole,” and one of the places where we were able to succeed so much and get that big lead. All the wins we got, we’re grateful for every one of them. You’re racing against the best-of-the best. South Boston Speedway is somewhere that I really hadn’t raced at much over the years. Being able to race there and have such success so early is a testament to our team, how fast our racecars are every weekend, and how hard we work.”
Winning the South Boston Speedway NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division championship is a prestigious and important accomplishment. Former national champions Phillip Morris, Lee Pulliam and Sellers all won national titles by being successful at South Boston Speedway winning the South Boston Speedway championship.
“It’s a big accomplishment, and something that everybody wants to do,” Riggs remarked. “The car count was there at South Boston all season long. The competition was there, and it’s a really good place to rack up points. We know that usually to win a national championship you have to win a South Boston Speedway championship too. That’s just part of it.
“I hate that we really didn’t get to celebrate the South Boston championship earlier, but we are now, for sure. Now we get to celebrate the national championship, the South Boston Speedway championship, and the regional championship. This really shows how good our team was and how proud I am of everybody that has been part of it.”
Riggs said he very much appreciates the fans that supported him throughout the 2022 season at South Boston Speedway.
“Thanks go to everybody at South Boston Speedway and all the fans I created there this year,” Riggs remarked. “I feel like I totally turned the tides with the fans, and I’m really proud of everybody that was behind me all year long. The fans that cheer every week might not know they have much impact, but they really do, especially with morale.”
The 2022 season was a magical season for Riggs who drove for his small family-run team led by his father, Scott Riggs, a former NASCAR Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and former NASCAR Cup Series driver. When the points season ended Riggs had made 43 starts between South Boston Speedway, Dominion Raceway, Motor Mile Speedway, Wake County Speedway and Hickory Motor Speedway. He finished the points season with 16 wins, 30 top-five finishes and 38 top-10 finishes.
Of his 43 starts, 17 of them came at South Boston Speedway where he posted 10 wins, two pole wins, 15 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes.
Winning the 2022 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship is something Riggs says he will cherish for his lifetime.
“To finally get a big trophy at the end of the season and have something nobody can take away from me the rest of my life is pretty cool,” Riggs said. “Earlier this season I would have never anticipated running for the national championship. I’m glad now we did. It’s a feather in my cap to know I have the ability, we had the fast cars, and I was able to do it. I looked recently at the list of past champions, and it seems like almost every single one of them ended up being a legend. I just want to follow in those guys’ footsteps, live up to my heroes and try to be one myself one day.”
Riggs is very thankful and appreciative of all the time and hard work that his father, Scott, and his small all-volunteer team put into the team this season and supporting him every step of the way.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of everybody that has been part of it,” said Riggs, a third-year student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte majoring in mechanical engineering. “It (the national championship chase) was tough those last couple of weeks, but not because of the pressure. It was just having to race so much and school starting back a month before it (the championship chase) was over. Over the summer I was able to work on the cars during the week, be really in touch with our program, and go to the racetrack on weekends. This past month I had to go to school all week. I would get done with my schoolwork on Thursday and then head home. Everybody back at the shop, dad, and all our volunteer team members stepped up a lot to make this happen. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Along with competing for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship Riggs raced in a pair of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, finishing seventh at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in his NASCAR national series debut. Riggs is hopeful that winning the national championship this season will open doors to bigger opportunities.
“Winning a national title on the weekly level will boost my career and hopefully open the door to acquire potential partners and sponsors in the future,” Riggs explained. “Next year my big goal is to run full-time in the NASCAR Truck Series. Winning the national championship is an opportunity to show I have the talent and ability to do what I need to do to win races. I just hope somebody will give me that shot next season.”