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 Collection this 12 months.

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 finally tenth in factors. Gaining expertise and confidence with each race he runs, Herbst has been proud of 2022 and sees it as a powerful place to begin in 2023.

“We had a powerful 2022 season,” says Herbst. “We had a gaggle of prime fives and a gaggle of prime ten. This 12 months I can get to know my group mate Cole Custer. I actually suppose this may 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 amassing trophies.

“We’re actually targeted on consistency as we go into 2023. Consistency is essential in the entire races, however particularly in NASCAR. Hopefully we are able to 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 12 months and be higher than we have been final 12 months.”

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

“Clearly, with Kevin Harvick, 2023 shall 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 Integrated which he runs. He helped me get off the observe in an enormous approach. He factors me in the fitting course.” And he offers 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 group itself is superb. It is the beginning of my third 12 months with them. It is nice. Stewart-Haas is a store filled with winners and racers, and so they do every thing they’ll to assist us on the group.” 98 and so they undoubtedly really feel at residence.”

Workforce boss Tony Stewart can be maintaining an in depth eye on Herbst.

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

The 2023 Xfinity Collection 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 will be there in the long run. I consider with something in life and in racing, confidence is essential. 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 group. All of it means good issues, and hopefully it means victory lane quickly.”

“Daytona is certainly one of our greatest 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 prime in terms 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 greatest to assault that observe, the way to work collectively and the way to assist the group basically.”

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

“It is essential,” 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 sector is so shut collectively. All of those race tracks are a lot enjoyable and I really feel like we will be aggressive on each observe.”

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

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

Whereas the final word purpose is to experience the trophy, Herbst’s instant precedence is to make some Xfinity-level wins.

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

“We’re sticking to what we have to do to go and attempt to win these races and battle 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 actually 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 onerous and we’ll pull it off.”

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