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 Collection this yr.

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 powerful place to begin in 2023.

“We had a powerful 2022 season,” says Herbst. “We had a bunch of high fives and a bunch of high ten. This yr 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 beloved the 2022 season, however I did not. Clearly we wish to win. We wish to win all the pieces. Hopefully we are able to take that subsequent step this yr and get on the highway to victory and begin accumulating trophies.

“We’re actually centered on consistency as we go into 2023. Consistency is vital 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 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 yr and be higher than we have been final yr.”

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 shall be his final yr,” says Herbst. “He is popping out large and it is nice to observe. 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 observe in an enormous manner. He factors me in the proper route.” And he provides me recommendation on and off the racetrack, which is so superb.

“Richard Boswell is a good man. He is a very 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 yr with them. It is unbelievable. Stuart Haas is a store stuffed with winners and racers, they usually do all the pieces they’ll to assist us on Crew No. 98 they usually positively really feel at dwelling.”

Crew boss Tony Stewart can be retaining a detailed eye on Herbst.

“Tony involves fairly a couple of 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 Collection 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 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 skills. 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 one in every of our greatest races of the yr, 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 relation to that. Cole and I are good associates. 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 observe, the way to work collectively and the way to 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 essential,” says Herbst. “You need to be constant for the primary 10 races after which you’ll be able to 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 might be an excellent day to apply and get some coaching and get your toes 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 will make myself comfy within the race automobile once more. It’s good that they gave us this check.”

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

“I might like to race within the Cup Collection and I might 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 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 maintain working laborious and we’ll pull it off.”

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