Ahead of his first full-time NASCAR Truck season, Riggs is ready to seize his moment

Layne Riggs has a lot of piecemeal memories of being a kid at NASCAR racetracks.

Riggs, the son of Scott Riggs, who made starts in all three national series, usually cared more about going to the playground or playing with his toys in the motorhome. Being so young, Riggs didn’t much care for or understand racing. But he did know his dad had a race car (he thought everyone’s dad raced) and had a pre-race routine of standing in the seat trying to look over the dash.

“That was the one thing I always wanted to do every week,” Riggs told RACER. “I do remember one time, mom walked me over to the car and I got in it and a security guard came over yelling at us, and we had to explain. For some reason that sticks in my head.”


By the time Scott Riggs was moving away from racing, making his last national series start in 2014, Layne had become interested in the sport. While he describes it as awkward timing, it worked out well because Layne’s driving career has been closely monitored by Scott.

“I think he’s missed only two of my races ever in the past 10 years we’ve raced,” Layne said. “It’s been great to have him by my side.”

The older Riggs likely won’t be far when NASCAR rolls into Daytona Beach next month and for Layne, when he goes to get behind the wheel of a vehicle on pit road, this time it’ll be one with his name above the door. Front Row Motorsports signed the 21-year-old to a multiyear deal to drive the No. 38 Ford F-150 in the Craftsman Truck Series. It’s the first full-time opportunity Riggs is getting in a NASCAR national series.

Riggs has dipped his toes into the NASCAR national series waters with limited starts in Trucks and the Xfinity Series (above, with Kaulig Racing at Las Vegas last year), but this season will be his first full-time program. Rusty Jarrett/Motorsport Images

“It’s been amazing,” Riggs said of settling in with the news and preparing for the season. “It’s more of a relief than excitement. It’s very exciting to get to do it, I’m very excited looking at the schedule and seeing all the tracks. It’s also just a huge relief for me, because I’ve been racing for so long trying to get to this level. I think that step between grassroots and the national level is the hardest one to do, and I finally have the opportunity to do so.

“It’s been a blessing. Everyone is super supportive of me, even my competitors from the past and Truck Series competitors are glad to see me and that I got an opportunity. A lot of them have said they feel I deserve it, and I do as well. So I think my time has come and hopefully I can do everybody proud and prove everybody right.”

A driving career that started at 10 years old has delivered success in mini stocks, Limited Sportsman events and the CARS Tour. In 2022, Riggs claimed the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship. Over the last two seasons, Riggs made six starts in the Craftsman Truck Series and three in the Xfinity Series.

Front Row Motorsports took notice of Riggs as the 2023 season wound down. Jerry Freeze, the organization’s general manager, approached Riggs at Martinsville Speedway about his interest in driving the truck. It was an easy answer for Riggs, who ironically was making his final NASCAR start of the season.

“I (said), ‘I thought you would have had that filled up six months ago and just not told anyone,’” Riggs recalled saying to Freeze. “He said, ‘We’re still kind of debating on what we want, but just wanted to see if you’d be interested and we’ll watch you today and see how you do and get back to you sometime.’ That next week, I got the call. I’m just super thankful. It’s a dream come true of mine and I couldn’t name a better organization to be at for my debut season.”

Zane Smith drove the No. 38 truck to six wins in two seasons, including the 2022 series championship. Front Row Motorsports has fielded the entry since 2020, also going to victory lane with Todd Gilliland. The success has made the seat one of the most enticing for free agent drivers.

Scott Riggs (above, right) made starts in all three of NASCAR’s national series, and now leans on that experience to advise Layne. Nigel Kinrade/Motorsport Images

It’s been tough for Riggs to see drivers he’s competed against, even beaten, move up the ladder quickly and be successful. Riggs was left with a longing about getting a shot to show he’s just as talented. But his journey was one of working on his own race cars with dad and a volunteer crew and needing to get As and Bs in school to be allowed to race.

“I know every nut and bolt on my race cars,” Riggs said. “I know what it takes to build them, fix them, and how impactful it is when you wreck. I think because of that, it’s helped me be a more levelheaded racer and realize the sacrifice and work it does take and how quickly it can be taken from you. All those years of work, staying late at the shop, doing schoolwork at the racetrack, it finally paid off.”


Much of the learning curve for Riggs will be competing at many racetracks he’s never seen before. And some of those are also bigger than the ones he’s spent much of his career competing on.

“It’s going to be different,” he said. “Those Xfinity Series races, I ran two mile-and-a-half tracks, and that helped me a lot. I raced with guys who are really crafty with the air and was able to side draft and everything really well. It helped to just be out there with them. But going to places like Daytona and Talladega, I’ve never drafted a superspeedway race. I have a great spotter this year (Josh Williams) and he’ll be able to teach me a lot, and I’ve got a lot of great people to lean on.

“The biggest one circled for me on the calendar is COTA being a road course. I’ve never raced a road course in my life, so we’re already doing prep and sim work, and I’m practicing on iRacing about every day I get the chance to. I have huge shoes to fill with Zane winning the past three in a row and being undefeated there. I know the truck will be there, I just hope I can do my job behind the wheel.”

It’s full steam ahead for Riggs getting to Daytona. Riggs connected with Freeze at the end of October, and his signing was announced mid-December. Film study, sim work, and spending time with Williams to build a rapport has filled his days. At the race shop, Riggs is still working on putting names and faces together but he clearly sees how hard they’re working to be successful on the racetrack.

“It’s a great group of people; they’re all determined just like me,” Riggs said. “Dylan [Cappello, crew chief] is a young, new guy … hungry and wants to go prove himself and win races. I’m young, hungry, and want to prove myself and win races. We both have the same mindset and are at the same level in our careers. We just want to prove to everybody we’re the best combination there is out there. It’s been great.

“It’s a great organization. Everybody is very level headed and Christian-based and it’s somewhere you can definitely feel comfortable and call home.”

Story originally appeared on Racer