Riley Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford team persevered through an up-and-down race to finish 12th in Saturday’s Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The Las Vegas native started 14th and was moving up in the field when he reported an issue with the right front on lap 12. He stayed on track to the end of Stage 1 and brought his Mustang to the attention of his No. 98 Monster Energy pit crew. He restarted 29th on the lead lap and was back in the top-20 just five laps later. Herbst made his way up to 15th by the end of Stage 2 and restart 14th in the final stage. After he successfully avoided several incidents in the early going, crew chief Richard Boswell opted to take advantage of the cautions and brought his driver down pit road during the caution on lap 48 to top off on fuel. When the rest of the field pitted under a lap-53 caution, the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang was able to stay on track and restart on the front row. Herbst led four laps after the restart but, as the remainder of the race went green, he began struggling with a tight-handling racecar that made it particularly difficult to negotiate the “tunnel turn.” He would ultimately earn his 14th top-15 of the season.
Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a chance there, but my Ford Mustang was just too tight in the end. I’m glad we got to lead some laps, but ultimately we want to get a win. I’m proud of my No. 98 Monster Energy team and we’ll continue to work toward the playoffs.”
● Herbst led one time for four laps – his first laps led at Pocono.
● Noah Gragson won the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 to score his eighth career Xfinity Series victory, his third of the season, and his first at Pocono. His margin over second-place Ty Gibbs was .281 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 18 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● AJ Allmendinger remains the championship leader after Pocono with a 16-point advantage over second-place Justin Allgaier.
The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Indianapolis 150 on July 30 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.