Stewart-Haas Racing: NXS Race Report from Atlanta

NASCAR Xfinity Series: RAPTOR King of Tough 250

Date: March 18, 2023
Event: RAPTOR King of Tough 250 (Round 5 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 163 laps, broken into three stages (40 laps/40 laps/83 laps)
Race Winner: Austin Hill of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Hill of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Parker Kligerman of Big Machine Racing (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:

● Riley Herbst (Started 5th / Finished 5th, completed 163 of 163 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 8th / Finished 12th, completed 163 of 163 laps)

SHR Points:

● Riley Herbst (3rd with 202 points, 46 out of first)
● Cole Custer (9th with 147 points, 101 out of first)

SHR Notes:

● Herbst earned his second straight top-five of the season and his second top-five in six career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta.

● This was Herbst’s third straight top-10 finish at Atlanta. He finished fourth and ninth, respectively, in last year’s races.

● Herbst has not finished outside the top-20 at Atlanta in his six Xfinity Series starts.

● Herbst is one of only three Xfinity Series drivers to finish in the top-10 in every race so far this season.

● This was Herbst’s eighth straight top-10 finish in the Xfinity Series, a streak dating back to an eighth-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 22, 2022.

● Herbst finished fifth in Stage 1 to earn six bonus points and second in Stage 2 to earn nine more bonus points.

● Herbst led two times for 11 laps – his first laps led at Atlanta

● Custer earned his fourth top-15 of the season and his third top-15 in four career Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta.

● Custer has only finished outside the top-15 at Atlanta once in the Xfinity Series.

● This was Custer’s second straight top-15 at Atlanta. He finished second in his last start there in February 2019.

● Custer finished ninth in Stage 1 to earn two bonus points and ninth in Stage 2 to earn two more bonus points.

Race Notes:

● Austin Hill won the RAPTOR King of Tough 250 to score his fifth career Xfinity Series victory, his third of the season, and his second at Atlanta. His margin over second-place Daniel Hemric was .085 of a second.

● There were 12 caution periods for a total of 68 laps.

● Twenty-five of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

● Austin Hill remains the championship leader after Atlanta with a 46-point advantage over second-place John Hunter Nemechek.

Sound Bites:

“That one was tough. We had such a great Ford Mustang, and the speed to win. I saw a chance there coming to the checkered flag, but we got caught up in an incident. I’m proud of this No. 98 Monster Energy team for all of their hard work. It’s paying off, and I think people are taking notice. Hopefully, we can make it to victory lane soon.” – Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang

“You know, it was just an up-and-down day. We were kind of running toward the front and trying to make moves, but then a run wouldn’t work, and we would get shuffled back. I thought we had a solid No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang, but we just couldn’t get it all to work together. We learned a lot for the next time though.” – Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Pit Boss 250 presented by USA Today on Saturday, March 25 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The race begins at 5 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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