Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Dover NXS Advance

Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Dover NXS Advance NK Photography Photo

Riley Herbst Notes of Interest

 

•  Riley Herbst and Dover (Del.) International Speedway are an appropriate pair. Herbst is the driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing and Dover is best known as the “Monster Mile”. At a track that can chew up and spit out even the most seasoned racers, Herbst has acquitted himself well on the concrete-clad, 1-mile oval. In three career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Dover, Herbst has scored two top-10 finishes with a best result of sixth on Aug. 22, 2020.

 

•  Herbst’s solid runs at the Monster Mile aren’t confined to the Xfinity Series. The Las Vegas native also has two starts at Dover in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In the 2016 and 2017 races, he finished eighth and seventh, respectively.

 

•  From one nickname to another: Herbst’s most recent Xfinity Series race came at the “Track Too Tough To Tame” and now he heads to the Monster Mile. Herbst endured a roller coaster of a race last Saturday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, which the track living up to its nickname. Herbst struggled throughout the race with a tight racecar, but was making some gains toward the end of the second stage. Crew chief Richard Boswell made the call to bring Herbst to pit road early when the yellow caution flag waved on lap 84, and while Herbst had to line up 27th for the lap-88 restart, he quickly picked off enough competitors to finish the stage in sight of the top-10. But in the final stage, Herbst earned a Darlington stripe when he brushed its iconic red-and-white wall. This led to a cut right-front tire that required an unscheduled pit stop. While Boswell tried to make up the lost track position through pit strategy, the green-white-checkered finish delivered the crushing blow, as Herbst was caught up in a last-lap incident that relegated him to a 27th-place finish.

 

•  The Dover 200 will mark Herbst’s 53rd career Xfinity Series start. His resume includes six top-fives and 24 top-10s. His best finish is second, earned twice – in February 2020 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and July 2020 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. At just 22 years of age, Herbst has history on his side – the past six Xfinity Series winners at Dover were all series regulars and two of them came from Stewart-Haas Racing (Cole Custer in 2019 and Chase Briscoe in 2020).

 

Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang

 

You’ve had some good runs at Dover in the past. In addition, the No. 98 team won there last August with Chase Briscoe. What are your thoughts heading into the race?

“I thoroughly enjoy Dover. It’s such a cool racetrack and it’s been good to me in the past. I would say Dover is one of my favorite tracks on the Xfinity Series circuit. We had the doubleheader last year and I was able to score two top-10 finishes, which is awesome when you think about how we didn’t even have practice. The No. 98 team got a win in the second race last year, so I’m ready to leave the bad luck behind us and see what kind of speed we can bring this weekend.”

 

The 2021 season has had its share of ups and downs for you the No. 98 Monster Energy team. Talk about your season so far.

“It’s frustrating. This year, we’ve run good and we’ve had some good speed. Either I’ve made a mistake or we’ve just had some unfortunate luck that took us out of our running positions. We’ve had the speed, but we just haven’t been able to finish where we’ve been running due to incidents.”

 

Heading into Dover, you’re about a quarter of the way through the 2021 season. What’s it been like for you to get acclimated at Stewart-Haas Racing during these first nine races?

“I really enjoy it. It’s definitely a different environment from where I came from last year with it being a single-car organization in the Xfinity Series. I came from having a lot of teammates to none, but I’ve been working with Richard Boswell (crew chief) and the guys. The relationships in the No. 98 camp have been good. I wish we could’ve had some more success during this first quarter of the season, but we’re nowhere near hitting the panic button because of the speed we have in our Monster Energy Ford Mustang.”

 

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