Riley Herbst finished 26th in the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, but it was not indicative of the 21-year-old’s drive in the season-opening race. Herbst started fourth and led laps 18-29. He nearly won the first stage of the race, finishing .004 of a second behind Brandon Jones. Herbst continued to be a contender for the win, despite falling all the way back to 22nd in the second stage. He rallied his No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang to as high as third in the final stage only to be collected in a multicar accident on lap 106 that jettisoned any shot of a good finish.
Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“The race was definitely something to be proud of. I think it’s something to acknowledge how well me and the 22 (Austin Cindric) worked together. I wish I could’ve found him a little later on in the race like we did in the first stage, but we’re just getting started here. This is all stuff we can take to the next plate track at Talladega, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m just really bummed out about the circumstances there.”
● Herbst led once for 12 laps to increase his laps-led total at Daytona to 18.
● Herbst finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points.
● Cindric won the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 to score his ninth career Xfinity Series victory and his first at Daytona. His margin of victory over second-place Brett Moffitt was .104 of a second.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 42 laps.
● Only 19 of the 40 drivers in the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 finished on the lead lap.
● Cindric leaves Daytona as the championship leader with a 15-point advantage over second-place Ty Dillon.
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Super Start Batteries 188 presented by O’Reilly on Saturday, Feb. 20 on the Daytona road course. The race starts at 5 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.