Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Mid-Ohio NXS Advance

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NASCAR Xfinity Series Overview
 • Event: B&L Transport 170 (Round 13 of 33)

• Date: Saturday, June 5• 

Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington• 

Layout: 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course• 

Time/TV/Radio: 1 p.m. ET on FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio 
Riley Herbst Notes of Interest
 •  There is perhaps no driver more ready for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington than Riley Herbst. The driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing is coming off one of his strongest race weekends in his still young career. In the series’ last race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Herbst set the fastest time in practice and then carried that speed into qualifying by winning his first career pole with a lap of 29.350 seconds at 183.986 mph around the 1.5-mile oval. The race, however, yielded a 12th-place finish. Disappointed yet undaunted, Herbst aims to take the speed shown in Charlotte and emulate it on Mid-Ohio’s 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. 

•  Road-course racing has become a staple of NASCAR and Herbst has six career road-course starts in the Xfinity Series, all coming in the last 10 months. The 22-year-old racer from Las Vegas has a best road-course finish of seventh, earned last August on the infield layout of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Outside of the Xfinity Series, Herbst has four additional road-course starts with a best finish of second earned at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in August 2017 in the ARCA Menards Series. 

•  The B&L Transport 170 is the second road-course race in three weeks for Herbst and his Xfinity Series counterparts. It will be Herbst’s first start at Mid-Ohio. He never got to sample the track last year as restrictions related to COVID-19 forced NASCAR to cancel its planned visit. This year’s race marks the first time the Xfinity Series has raced at Mid-Ohio since Aug. 10, 2019 when Ford driver Austin Cindric took the victory. Ford has won four of the last seven Xfinity Series races at Mid-Ohio. 

•  The B&L Transport 170 will mark Herbst’s 56th 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 – seven of the past 11 road-course winners have been under the age of 25 and Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 98 team has won two road-course races in the Xfinity Series – 2018 on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval and 2020 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. 
Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
 Despite the outcome, you had a strong weekend in the series’ last race at Charlotte – fastest in practice and your first career pole. How important were those milestones when it comes to getting similar results in races?“I think last weekend was a step in the right direction for us. It’s obvious that we’ve struggled during this first part of the season, but we were able to learn and put some pieces of the puzzle together at Charlotte. The No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang obviously has speed, but we haven’t been able to put it all together to get the finishes we deserve. Hopefully, last weekend was the turning point.” 

The Xfinity Series is heading back to a road course, but it will be your first time racing at Mid-Ohio. How are you preparing for this race with the No. 98 Monster Energy team?“I’m pretty excited to head to Mid-Ohio. I’ve just been getting ready by talking with Richard (Boswell, crew chief) and putting some time in on the sim. The No. 98 team has a great road-course package, so I’m excited to get to the track this weekend and see what kind of speed we have.” 

What do you know about Mid-Ohio?“Mid-Ohio is a new track for me, but I’m excited to get there and get my No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang out on the track. I wasn’t able to race there during my rookie season because of the pandemic, so I think there’s a lot to learn heading into the weekend. Hopefully, we can carry our speed over from Charlotte and that we’ve had throughout the season and just put it all together.”

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