Interview: Riley Herbst is on a mission

Riley Herbst is gearing as much as return to Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 98 Monster Vitality Ford Mustang for his third season within the NASCAR Xfinity Sequence this 12 months.

A member of Stewart-Haas Racing since 2021, Herbst has had a constant marketing campaign in 2022 with three high threes, eight high fives, and 20 high 10s — sufficient for a spot in qualifying and finally 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 high fives and a gaggle of high ten. This 12 months I can get to know my crew mate Cole Custer. I actually assume it will assist our program tremendously, and hopefully we are able to 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 every thing. Hopefully we are able to take that subsequent step this 12 months and get on the street to victory and begin gathering trophies.

“We’re actually centered on consistency as we go into 2023. Consistency is vital in all the races, however particularly in NASCAR. Hopefully we are able to proceed to construct that consistency, and that consistency can take us even increased as that high 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 12 months and be higher than we had been final 12 months.”

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 will likely be his final 12 months,” says Herbst. “He is popping out massive and it is nice to observe. He is my childhood hero, so it is nice to be within the business whereas he is in his senior 12 months. 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 precise course.” And he provides me recommendation on and off the racetrack, which is so superb.

“Richard Boswell is a superb man. He is a extremely good crew chief. He is a racer and loves going out on the racetrack. And the crew itself is superb. It is the beginning of my third 12 months with them. It is nice. Stewart-Haas is a store stuffed with winners and racers, they usually do every thing they will to help us on the crew.” 98 they usually positively really feel at residence.”

Crew boss Tony Stewart can be conserving a detailed 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 together 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 in 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 will 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 talents. I’m additionally very assured in my preparation and within the work I do. “I actually belief my crew chief and my crew. All of it means good issues, and hopefully it means victory lane quickly.”

“Daytona is certainly one of our largest races of the 12 months, nevertheless it’s a wild race to say the least. We’ll be working intently with Cole in ’00 and hopefully we are able to work collectively and draft and be on high in the case of that. Cole and I are good mates. I’ve recognized him for a short while and he has We have already began planning for Daytona and the way finest to assault that monitor, methods to work collectively and methods to assist the crew usually.”

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

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

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

“This is able to be an excellent day to follow and get some coaching and get your ft again in motor racing and get your head proper,” he says. “It is going to be good to instruct the brand new crew members right here with the crew, and I can make myself comfy within the race automobile once more. It’s good that they gave us this take a look at.”

Whereas the final word purpose is to journey the trophy, Herbst’s quick 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 are able to 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 begin 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 hold working exhausting and we’ll pull it off.”

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