Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Texas NXS Advance

Stewart-Haas Racing Photo

•  Riley Herbst comes into Saturday’s SRS Distribution 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth riding a wave of front-running consistency. The driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is on a five-race top-10 streak, punctuated by a season-best third-place finish in the Xfinity Series’ most recent race May 7 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. It was his eighth top-10 in the 11 races run this season – tying Herbst for the second-most top-10s this year with fellow Las Vegas-native Noah Gragson – and it has Herbst eighth in the championship standings, 54 points above the top-12 playoff cutline.

•  The Xfinity Series was off last weekend, but Herbst was still on. The 23-year-old competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Herbst wheeled the No. 17 Monster Energy Ford F-150 for David Gilliland Racing (DGR) to a seventh-place starting spot and a 12th-place finish as he furthered his experience on intermediate-style ovals.

•  Prior to the Xfinity Series off weekend, racing worlds collided. Herbst, along with his NASCAR Cup Series teammates Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer, spent the day with Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher. In a day of speed and fun on the Ford Performance Racing School road course at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, all the drivers were able to get behind the wheel and give rides to Haas Automation customers. F1 Digital released a video recap of the day on their social channels earlier this week.

•  The SRS Distribution 250 will mark Herbst’s 88th career Xfinity Series start and his fifth at Texas. Herbst’s best finish at Texas is a pair of 12th-place drives, both of which were earned last year in the series’ two stops at Texas.

•  SHR has one Xfinity Series win at Texas. Cole Custer delivered the victory in November 2018, beating Tyler Reddick by .162 of a second.

Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
 There was no weekend off for you. While the rest of the Xfinity Series took a break, you were wheeling the No. 17 Monster Energy Ford F-150 for David Gilliland Racing (DGR) at Kansas. What did you learn by running that race?“You learn a lot. I was able to drive that truck back at Daytona, and I think there’s a good bit that you can learn and carry over to the Xfinity Series. I’m thankful to DGR for giving me the opportunity to learn. No matter what, it’s more seat time and a way to gain more experience. I’m a big fan of Kansas, and it’s also an intermediate track, which we’ll run this weekend in Texas. While they’re different tracks, I can learn as a driver. In my career, I’ve had limited track time with practice and qualifying going away in 2020, so I’ll take what I can get.” 

What are your expectations for Saturday’s race?“We’re focused on ourselves, and that’s trying to get the No. 98 Monster Energy team to victory lane. Right now, we’re focused on trying to bring the best racecar to Texas and I’m focused on being the most prepared that I can be as a driver. Hopefully, we can lead some laps, run up front, and win some stages. Last year, we were decent there, but struggled to find speed. We’re gathering all of our notes, going to the simulator, and preparing for this race. The plan is to have a solid run at Texas and go for the win, but we’re also preparing for Charlotte next week, which is one of my favorite tracks.”

 You’re sort of flying under the radar this year despite a strong start to the season with eight top-10s and being eighth in points. How are you feeling about the team’s performance so far as you’re currently on a five-race top-10 streak?“The goal this season was always to be consistent. Momentum is everything. It was tough last year, and we knew that if we did what we were supposed to do, we would finish decently. We’re way more consistent, and being able to finish has been huge for this No. 98 Monster Energy team. It allows us to keep moving forward and progressing. Ultimately, we’re moving toward the goal of winning races.”
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