Scott Riggs' Time in NASCAR Is Running Out

Brian KennedyCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2009

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14:  Scott Riggs, driver of the #36 Toyota, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2009 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Scott Riggs' first five races of the 2009 NASCAR season can be defined with two simple words: topsy turvy.

After qualifying for the season opening Daytona 500 and Auto Club 500, it appeared as though Riggs and the underfunded Tommy Baldwin Racing would be a feel-good story for the season. Unfortunately after California, the feel-good story turned into a nightmare.

Since the beginning of March, Riggs has failed to qualify for a Sprint Cup Race. Slow speeds at Las Vegas, a faulty engine at Atlanta, and a very loose race car at Bristol have hindered Tommy Baldwin Racing gaining on their early season success. 

This, in turn, has put the No. 36 Toyota out of the top 35 in owner points, a crippling blow.

As Riggs and his underdog team head to the paper clip known as Martinsville this weekend, one can't help but wonder: "Is Scott Riggs time running out?"

If Riggs fails to qualify this weekend at Martinsville, then he will not have raced in the month of March.

Missing one race alone turns away potential sponsors, but four in a row? That is the making for a new race team's demise. Who would want to sponsor a team that can't even make it to the race on Sunday? Sure Tommy Baldwin has the "we're still a new team" motto to use as a crutch, but the new-car smell is quickly wearing off.

Changes are going to be made if instant wins are not obtained.

The first step is to qualify for this weekend's race, then gun for a top-20 finish. If Riggs cannot get the job done this weekend, expect the rumor mill to start rumbling.

JJ Yeley has been on the sideline since October, and he would be eager to get back in a ride. Mike Skinner was brought in last year to rejuvenate Red Bull Racing and did just that. Would Tommy Baldwin bring in Skinner to try and do the same for his team?

Simply put, Scott Riggs' time is getting short. It is time for the 38-year-old to prove to the media and his fans why he is in NASCAR.

Sure, Riggs is one of the good ol' boys from a small town, but that persona only gets you so far. Tommy Baldwin is going to do everything humanly possible to keep his dream alive, even if it means replacing Riggs.

This writer can only hope that Scott turns heads this weekend and proves why Tommy Baldwin picked him as his driver. If something isn't shown though, expect the door of opportunity to slam in Riggs' face.