Riley Herbst Finishes 19th at Atlanta
Monster Energy Ford Driver Battles Loose-Handling Racecar
Date: July 10, 2021
Event: Credit Karma Money 250 (Round 18 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format: 163 laps, broken into three stages (40 laps/40 laps/83 laps)
Start/Finish: 10th / 19th (Running, completed 164 of 164 laps)
Point Standing: 13th (391 points, 357 out of first)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 163-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford team endured a day of frustrations as they finished 19th in Saturday’s Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas native rolled off 10th when the green flag waved on the 1.54-mile oval in Hampton, Georgia. A loose-handling racecar caused Herbst’s Ford Mustang to fall back in the field during the first stage. After restarting 12th on lap 25, Herbst reported that he might have had a throttle issue. The team opted to keep the Monster Energy driver out until the Stage 1 break, when a longer pit stop for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment, and to check the engine put him one lap down. When the second stage went green, Herbst used the car’s adjustments to his advantage and quickly raced his way into the Lucky Dog position just before a lap-50 caution enabled him to get back on the lead lap. By the time the race got back underway on lap 56, the 22-year-old driver wasted no time in his march through the field after restarting 35th. He broke into the top-20 by lap 76 and ended the second stage in that position. With a little help from his Monster Energy pit crew, Herbst was able to gain eight spots on pit road during the break to restart the final stage 12th. When the race went green on lap 87, Herbst was fighting for a spot in the top-12 while his racecar developed a loose condition as the stage progressed. When the caution flag waved on lap 146, the team called its driver to pit road for fuel, four scuffed tires, and a slight wedge adjustment. Unfortunately, a speeding penalty sent Herbst to the end of the longest line. A flurry of late-race cautions hindered the team’s forward progress, and it ultimately had to settle for its 11th top-20 finish of the season.
Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That definitely wasn’t the day we were hoping for in Atlanta. Our Monster Energy Ford Mustang was loose for most of the race, and I just needed help with the balance. That caution with 17 laps to go hit us at the wrong time, and then we just made a mistake. I wish I could’ve gotten a better finish for my team. We’ll move on to New Hampshire.”
● Kyle Busch won the Credit Karma Money 250 to earn his 102nd career victory, his fifth of the season and his third at Atlanta. His margin over second-place Jeb Burton was .550 of a second.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 43 laps.
● Thirty of the 40 drivers in the Credit Karma Money 250 finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Cindric remains the championship leader after Atlanta with a 74-point advantage over second-place A.J. Allmendinger.
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Ambetter Get Vaccinated 200 on Saturday, July 17 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.