NASCAR Xfinity Series Overview
• Event: Cook Out 250 (Round 7 of 33)
• Date: April 9, 2021
• Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
• Layout: .526-mile oval
• Time/TV/Radio: 8 p.m. ET on FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Riley Herbst Notes of Interest
• Riley Herbst aims to pick up right where he left off when the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action Friday night in the Cook Out 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) scored back-to-back top-10 finishes before the Xfinity Series went on a two-week break. Herbst finished fourth March 13 at Phoenix Raceway and followed it up with a sixth-place drive March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The collective effort allowed Herbst to climb from 19th in points following a DNF (Did Not Finish) March 6 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to 12th entering Martinsville.
• Herbst has been getting by with a little help from his friends, namely his pit crew. At Phoenix, the Monster Energy crew gained Herbst six spots on pit road to place him inside the top-10 for the final stage. Then at Atlanta, they positioned him fourth for a late-race restart. With track position critical at Martinsville, the prowess of Herbst’s over-the-wall gang will again be pivotal.
• Martinsville marks a milestone for Herbst. The Cook Out 250 will be the Las Vegas-native’s 50th career Xfinity Series start. Herbst will be in his familiar Monster Energy colors while racing under the lights on the flat and fast .526-mile oval. Eight of Herbst’s 49 career Xfinity Series starts have come on short tracks. He has collected five top-10s with his best short-track finish being sixth, a result earned twice – June 2018 at Iowa Speedway in Newton and last October at Martinsville when Herbst rallied from his 24th-place starting position.
• Last year’s Xfinity Series race at Martinsville was the division’s first visit to the track in 13 years. Prior to its return, the last Xfinity Series race at Martinsville took place on July 22, 2006. Kevin Harvick defeated Clint Bowyer by .271 seconds. Herbst was 7 years old. Today, Herbst races for the same team as Harvick.
Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
What are your expectations for Martinsville?
“We had two good races before the break and we hope to keep building on that momentum. It was a rough start to the season, but I feel like our luck is starting to turn around. We’ve got the speed in our Monster Energy Ford Mustangs to run up front and we’re getting to a place where we can finally show it. The last time I was in Martinsville, I came out with a top-10 finish, so I’m hoping to do the same this Friday.”
The Xfinity Series had its own version of spring break with consecutive off-weekends. Does that throw you off in any way as you try to get back into the routine of racing every weekend?
“The two off weeks were definitely a nice break and an opportunity for us to regroup after six straight races. We may have had two weeks off from racing, but we were still working and preparing for the next race. Luckily, we were able to get on the right track right before the break so, hopefully, we can pick up right where we left off this weekend in Martinsville.”
There’s still no qualifying and practice before you go racing, but you’re making your second and even third career starts at some of these tracks coming up on the schedule. Do you feel like that experience is proving beneficial?
“I feel like, for myself, the less experience I have, the more track time I want to get. With that being said, this will be my second or third time to these racetracks, so I’m definitely more prepared than I was last season. I know what to expect in some of these races. There are not many tracks that I don’t like. With each track, there is an opportunity for me to learn and become a better racecar driver.”
No. 98 Monster Energy Team Roster
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Riley Herbst
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Crew Chief: Richard Boswell
Hometown: Friendship, Maryland
Engineer: Justin Bolton
Hometown: Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Engineer: DJ VanderLey
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Spotter: Tim Fedewa
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Front Tire Changer: Daniel Coffey
Hometown: Granite Falls, North Carolina
Rear Tire Changer: Chris Jackson
Hometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina
Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina
Fueler: James Keener
Hometown: Fortuna, California
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Steve Wood
Hometown: Eatontown, New Jersey
Front End Mechanic: Mike Brill
Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire
Engine Tuner: Willie Pelotte
Hometown: Oakland, Maine
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!