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 high threes, eight high fives, and 20 high 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 proud of 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 will get to know my crew mate Cole Custer. I actually assume this may assist our program tremendously, and hopefully we are able to work collectively and find yourself in victory lane.

“I liked the 2022 season, however I did not. Clearly we wish to win. We wish to win every little thing. Hopefully we are able to take that subsequent step this 12 months and get on the street to victory and begin accumulating 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 larger as that high 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 have been final 12 months.”

Two those that 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 can 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 method. He factors me in the suitable 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 great. 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 little thing they will to help us on the crew.” 98 they usually positively really feel at house.”

Staff boss Tony Stewart can also be holding 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 is not on the observe with us, he is on the observe 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 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 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 considered one of our largest races of the 12 months, but it surely’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 relation to that. Cole and I are good associates. I’ve identified him for a short time and he has We have already began planning for Daytona and the way greatest to assault that observe, how you can work collectively and how you can assist the crew normally.”

After the Daytona race opener, the Xfinity Collection 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’ll 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 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 is going to be good to instruct the brand new crew members right here with the crew, and I will make myself snug within the race automobile once more. It’s good that they gave us this check.”

Whereas the last word objective is to experience the trophy, Herbst’s quick 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 speak 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 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 maintain working onerous and we’ll pull it off.”

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