Interview: Riley Herbst is on a mission

Riley Herbst is gearing as much as return to Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 98 Monster Power Ford Mustang for his third season within the NASCAR Xfinity Sequence this yr.

A member of Stewart-Haas Racing since 2021, Herbst has had a constant marketing campaign in 2022 with three prime threes, eight prime fives, and 20 prime 10s — sufficient for a spot in qualifying and in the end tenth in factors. Gaining expertise and confidence with each race he runs, Herbst has been pleased with 2022 and sees it as a robust start line in 2023.

“We had a robust 2022 season,” says Herbst. “We had a gaggle of prime fives and a gaggle of prime ten. This yr I will get to know my workforce mate Cole Custer. I actually assume this can assist our program tremendously, and hopefully we will work collectively and find yourself in victory lane.

“I beloved the 2022 season, however I did not. Clearly we wish to win. We wish to win all the things. Hopefully we will take that subsequent step this yr and get on the highway to victory and begin gathering trophies.

“We’re actually targeted on consistency as we go into 2023. Consistency is vital in all the races, however particularly in NASCAR. Hopefully we will proceed to construct that consistency, and that consistency can take us even greater as that prime three can flip into Wins and extra poles, extra laps led, extra stage factors and all that stuff. We’re simply making an attempt to take that subsequent step this yr and be higher than we had been final yr.”

Two people who Herbst believes have been of nice significance to him all through his tenure on the Xfinity collection are Kevin Harvick and SHR crew chief Richard Boswell.

“Clearly, with Kevin Harvick, 2023 might be his final yr,” says Herbst. “He is popping out massive and it is nice to look at. He is my childhood hero, so it is nice to be within the trade whereas he is in his senior yr. I additionally signed with Kevin Harvick Included which he runs. He helped me get off the monitor in a giant method. He factors me in the correct course.” And he provides me recommendation on and off the racetrack, which is so superb.

“Richard Boswell is a good man. He is a extremely good crew chief. He is a racer and loves going out on the racetrack. And the workforce itself is superb. It is the beginning of my third yr with them. It is nice. Stewart-Haas is a store filled with winners and racers, they usually do all the things they’ll to help us on the workforce.” 98 they usually undoubtedly really feel at house.”

Group boss Tony Stewart can also be preserving an in depth eye on Herbst.

“Tony involves fairly a number of races,” says Herbst. “Man, he is the racer of the racers. When he isn’t on the monitor with us, he is on the monitor along with his spouse, or at another race competing in a dust automobile. He is even performing some drag racing now. He is the very definition of a racer.”

The 2023 Xfinity Sequence kicks off at Daytona on February 18th. It is historical past that Herbst says cannot come quickly sufficient.

“I am excited to go after it,” he says. “I do know we may be there ultimately. I imagine with something in life and in racing, confidence is vital. Over the previous six to eight months I’ve felt more and more assured in my skills. I’m additionally very assured in my preparation and within the work I do “I actually belief my crew chief and my workforce. All of it means good issues, and hopefully it means victory lane quickly.”

“Daytona is one among our greatest races of the yr, nevertheless it’s a wild race to say the least. We’ll be working carefully with Cole in ’00 and hopefully we will work collectively and draft and be on prime with regards to that. Cole and I are good pals. I’ve recognized him for a short time and he has We have already began planning for Daytona and the way finest to assault that monitor, how one can work collectively and how one can assist the workforce basically.”

After the Daytona race opener, the Xfinity Sequence will head to Auto Membership Speedway adopted by Phoenix Raceway on March twenty fifth.

“It is crucial,” Herbst says. “It’s important to be constant for the primary 10 races after which you may race after that as a result of the sphere is so shut collectively. All of those race tracks are a lot enjoyable and I really feel like we will be aggressive on each monitor.”

Forward of all that comes NASCAR Xfinity Sequence testing, which is scheduled for January thirtieth in Charlotte.

“This may be a very good day to observe and get some coaching and get your ft again in motorsport and get your head proper,” he says. “It will likely be good to instruct the brand new workforce members right here with the workforce, and I will make myself comfy within the race automobile once more. It’s good that they gave us this check.”

Whereas the last word aim is to experience the trophy, Herbst’s speedy precedence is to make some Xfinity-level wins.

“I’d like to race within the Cup Sequence and I’d like to be a Cup Sequence winner, however now I wish to win races within the Xfinity Sequence and be the Champion after which we will discuss in regards to the Cup Sequence at a later time,” he says.

“We’re sticking to what we have to do to go and attempt to win these races and struggle for the championship. We’re placing the puzzle collectively piece by piece, and it goes collectively rather well. Our spirits at Stewart-Haas Racing are actually good. We’re very keen to start out the season and we’ll attempt to win some “The races and competing for the championships. I really need him to win the primary race. It has to occur. Hopefully it is in our first race at Daytona. If not, we’ll preserve working exhausting and we’ll pull it off.”

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