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 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 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 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 will get to know my group mate Cole Custer. I actually suppose this can assist our program tremendously, and hopefully we are able to work collectively and find yourself in victory lane.

“I cherished the 2022 season, however I did not. Clearly we need to win. We need to win all the things. Hopefully we are able to take that subsequent step this 12 months and get on the highway to victory and begin gathering 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 increased as that prime three can flip into Wins and extra poles, extra laps led, extra stage factors and all that stuff. We’re simply attempting to take that subsequent step this 12 months and be higher than we had been final 12 months.”

Two those 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 shall be his final 12 months,” says Herbst. “He is popping out large and it is nice to look at. 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 a giant method. He factors me in the suitable course.” And he provides me recommendation on and off the racetrack, which is so wonderful.

“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 group itself is great. It is the beginning of my third 12 months with them. It is nice. Stewart-Haas is a store filled with winners and racers, they usually do all the things they’ll to assist us on the group.” 98 they usually undoubtedly really feel at residence.”

Crew boss Tony Stewart can be conserving a detailed 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 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 in the long run. I imagine 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 talents. 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 one among 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 prime in relation 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 greatest to assault that observe, the way to work collectively and the way to assist the group typically.”

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. “You need to be constant for the primary 10 races after which you possibly can 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’ll be aggressive on each observe.”

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

“This is able to be a great day to observe and get some coaching and get your ft again in motorsport and get your head proper,” he says. “Will probably be good to instruct the brand new group members right here with the group, and I will make myself comfy within the race automobile once more. It’s good that they gave us this take a look at.”

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

“I might like to race within the Cup Sequence and I might like to be a Cup Sequence winner, however now I need 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 combat 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 arduous and we’ll pull it off.”

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