October 17, 2013 – By Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – Charlotte, N.C. – He’s nicknamed the ‘Carolina Kid’. It says so on his car and on his uniform. And in 2013, Eric Riggins, Jr. has proven exactly why that brand holds true.
The 18-year-old rising sprint car talent has come into his own in the 2013 season, winning in both the southern-based United Sprint Car Series (USCS) as well as in the northern-based United Racing Company RISLONE Sprint Series. And he’s been no more dominant than in his own backyard, winning three times this season in the Carolinas (twice at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C. and once at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C.).
“We’ve defended our turf this year,” the Charlotte, N.C. driver said in a recent conversation with Race Chaser correspondent Jacob Seelman of Speed77 Radio. “We’ve said all along, the Carolinas are our house. And I’ve held up my end of the deal this year,” he laughed.
The young star has been a talent on the USCS tour since 2010, winning the USCS Southern Thunder Rookie of the Year title in 2010 and notching a total of five tour victories to date, with three of those triumphs coming at his home track, Carolina Speedway.
“I don’t know for sure if it’s the home field advantage that makes it happen for us at Carolina every year,” Riggins quipped, “but it certainly doesn’t hurt, especially when we know we’ve got all our major supporters at the track cheering us on.”
In 2013, Riggins has also broadened his racing scope beyond the Southeast, racing north of the Mason-Dixon line with both the URC and World of Outlaws in an effort to gain more experience in the top echelon of sprint car racing.
“It’s not easy, going up and doing the 410 stuff, but we’ve made the best of it. Certainly have learned a lot.”
Most recently, Riggins swept the USCS/URC doubleheader weekend in the Carolinas at Gastonia and Gaffney on October 4th and 5th, putting a stellar cap on his 360 resume for the 2013 season. In an impressive feat, the power plant he used from Power by Gray Motorsports came off the dyno at 1 o’clock on race day afternoon. The young star will now look to complete his season in three weeks time at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series World Finals.
“Now, you want to talk about true hometown crowd, and that’s it right there. We’re ready to finish strong.”
Listen in below as Riggins sat down with Jacob Seelman to talk following his USCS/URC weekend sweep about his 2013 season, about his plans for 2014 and his outlook going into the World Finals at Charlotte.
Photo Credit: Chris Seelman Photography