Herbst Hopes To Turn The Daytona Tide

NASCAR Xfinity Series Overview

• Event: Wawa 250 (Round 23 of 33)

• Date: Friday, Aug. 27

• Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway

• Layout: 2.5-mile oval

• Time/TV/Radio: 7:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Riley Herbst Notes of Interest

• Twenty-two races after a crash left him 26th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ season-opener in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Riley Herbst is back at the 2.5-mile oval for Friday night’s Wawa 250. After playing catch up for the majority of the year, the driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang returns to Daytona riding a wave of front-running consistency. Herbst has scored back-to-back top-10s and finished among the top-10 in three of the past four races.

• This four-race run has vaulted Herbst from being outside of the playoff bubble to inside the top-12 cutoff to make the seven-race playoffs. After a 19th-place finish July 10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Herbst was 13th in the standings, 54 points adrift of the top-12. But after finishing 10th July 17 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, 13th Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, eighth Aug. 13 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and seventh last Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Herbst gained 95 points, erasing his 54-point deficit and replacing it with a 41-point margin over the top-12 cutoff. However, four races still remain in the regular season before the NASCAR Playoffs begin Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A win would lock Herbst into the playoffs, but the 22-year-old racer from Las Vegas can also point his way into championship contention by continuing his string of strong finishes between Daytona and the playoff cutoff race Sept. 17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

• This will be Herbst’s fifth Xfinity Series start on Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval. In his four previous Xfinity Series starts at Daytona, Herbst scored a top-10 and two top-20s. Herbst was on his way to padding those stats back in February when he led 12 laps in the first stage, narrowly missing the stage win as Brandon Jones pipped him for the spot as the two crossed the start/finish line, with Herbst a scant .004 of a second behind 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.

• Herbst has four other starts on Daytona’s oval outside of the Xfinity Series. He has three starts in the ARCA Menards Series, with his best result being a seventh-place drive in the 2020 ARCA season opener. His lone Truck Series start came in February 2020 when he led 21 laps en route to a 12th-place finish.

Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang

You started the season at Daytona and after 22 races, you’re back at Daytona. What do you want to achieve in Friday night’s Wawa 250?

“We have to keep putting together strong runs so we can be in contention for a championship come Vegas. Our season got off to a bad start, but we’ve been getting better each and every week. The ultimate goal at Daytona is to win, but we also just want to continue to prove that we’re a strong team who can be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.”

An accident in the Xfinity Series’ season opener at Daytona back in February left you 26th. Despite the result you did have a solid run building with 12 laps led and a near-win in the first stage. What do you need to do to put together a complete race at Daytona?

“The first race of the season at Daytona was a heartbreaker. We had a fast Monster Energy Ford Mustang, but our race came to an end early because of a wreck. I came out of the gate strong by leading laps and contending for the Stage 1 win, but trouble found us. That’s where our bad luck started and it seemed to keep finding us in the weeks that followed. This weekend, I’m hoping we can put all of that behind us and do what we need to do to continue this race for the playoffs.”

You’ve scored three top-10 finishes in the last four races and haven’t finished outside the top-15. Talk about the consistency that has put you into playoff contention.

“These past four races have been a testament to the hard work that we all put in this season. When we started off the season, we were all still getting to know each other and it seemed like bad luck always found us. I’m proud of how far this Monster Energy team has come, and I’m ready to get some redemption at Daytona this weekend.”

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

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Shayne Pipala

Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois

Rear Tire Changer: Chris Jackson Hometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

Tire Carrier: Chad Emmons

Hometown: Tyler, Texas

Fueler: James Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

Jackman: Brandon Banks

Hometown: High Point, 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!

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