Talladega NASCAR Xfinity Series Advance
No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
NASCAR Xfinity Series Overview
• Event: Sparks 300 at Talladega (Round 28 of 33)
• Date: Saturday, Oct. 2
• Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway
• Layout: 2.66-mile oval
• Time/TV/Radio: 4:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Riley Herbst Notes of Interest
• Anything can happen at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and Riley Herbst is ready for it. With only two races remaining in the Round of 12 of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, the Monster Energy driver knows the pressure is on. After a disappointing end to his homecoming at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Saturday where he was collected in an accident just 30 laps into the race, Herbst looks for a reset in this Saturday’s Sparks 300 at Talladega. The unpredictable nature of superspeedway racing may work in his favor. Herbst finished among the top-10 in two of the three superspeedway races so far this season by being in the right place at the right time – a harbinger of success at Talladega.
• Despite the stumble in Las Vegas, Herbst can still race his way into the Round of 8 with a victory at Talladega or next Saturday on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval. In fact, pointing his way into the Round of 8 remains a possibility. By earning stage points and finishing strong at Talladega and Charlotte, Herbst could potentially erase his 32-point deficit to the top-eight cutoff. Herbst has been in this situation before. Entering the July 10 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, the Monster Energy driver was sitting 56-points outside of the top-12 cutoff to make the playoffs. Herbst was undeterred. In an eight-race span starting at New Hampshire, he replaced his points gap with a 46-point cushion thanks to six top-10 finishes, punctuated by a third-place drive in the regular-season finale Sept. 17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
• The Sparks 300 will mark Herbst’s 71st career Xfinity Series start and his fourth at Talladega. While luck wasn’t on his side after being involved in accidents during his first two starts at the track, he bounced back in his last start in April when he finished fourth. Herbst also has five Talladega starts outside of the Xfinity Series – four in the ARCA Menards Series and one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He scored a runner-up finish in the 2019 ARCA race.
Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang
You scored a fourth-place finish at Talladega back in April. What are you expecting in your return trip this race weekend?
“Talladega is unpredictable. Anything can happen and you have to be in the right place at the right time to come out on top. It really helps when you have teammates, and luckily I have my Ford teammates and we’ll work together on Saturday to try and get a win for the manufacturer. Not only did we have a good result in the spring, we also have grown our superspeedway program to where we led laps at both Daytona races this year. Now to just seal the deal and win.”
Your return home to Las Vegas didn’t end up like you had hoped it would, but you’ve still got two chances to turn it all around. Talk about last weekend and what you need to do in the final two races of the Round of 12.
“Last week was a bummer, for sure. You don’t ever want that to happen, but especially when you’re racing at your home track. The only plan is really to collect the stage points and be in contention for the win at the end of races. We’ve been strong on the superspeedways and road courses this season, so hopefully that works in our favor.”
Talladega is wild. What’s the team’s strategy heading into Saturday’s race?
“You go into Talladega knowing any plan you had can change in a second. That’s just the nature of superspeedway racing. The plan is to earn stage points and be there at the end. We have to be smart and stay out of trouble to get there, though. If we can do that, then we have a shot to win and advance to the Round of 8.”
No. 98 Monster Energy Team Roster
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Riley Herbst
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Crew Chief: Richard Boswell
Hometown: Friendship, Maryland
Engineer: Justin Bolton
Hometown: Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Engineer: DJ VanderLey
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Spotter: Tim Fedewa
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Front Tire Changer: Shayne Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois
Rear Tire Changer: Chris Jackson
Hometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina
Tire Carrier: Chad Emmons
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Fueler: James Keener
Hometown: Fortuna, California
Jackman: Brandon Banks
Hometown: High Point, North Carolina
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Steve Wood
Hometown: Eatontown, New Jersey
Front End Mechanic: Mike Brill
Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire
Engine Tuner: Willie Pelotte
Hometown: Oakland, Maine