Riley Herbst Daytona NXS Race Report

Herbst Finishes 10th at Daytona
Monster Energy Driver’s Top-10 Streak Continues as Playoffs Loom

Date: Aug. 27-28, 2021
Event: Wawa 250 (Round 23 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 100 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/30 laps/40 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th / 10th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (554 points, 371 out of first)

Race Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Jeb Burton of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)

Overview:
After two days of racing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Riley Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy team kept its top-10 streak rolling for a third straight week. Herbst finished 10th in the Wawa 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series, which began on Friday night and ran only 19 laps before rain and lightning forced a stoppage, postponing the remainder of the race until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Herbst resumed the 250-mile race around the 2.5-mile oval in 37th, whereupon he drove his Monster Energy Ford Mustang up to 17th within five laps of the restart. The first stage ended under caution and Herbst was 13th. At the beginning of the second stage, the 22-year-old was second. He took the lead on the restart and held the point for nine laps before Brandon Brown took the top spot. Herbst stayed in the top-10 for the remainder of the stage and rallied to finish fourth, earning seven valuable bonus points. Herbst remained in the top-10 for the final stage and ran as high as fifth while jockeying for position among the draft. Two caution periods with subsequent restarts left Herbst 14th as he worked to make the bottom lane the preferred line to the front. It didn’t materialize quickly enough, but it did allow Herbst to break back into the top-10 to score his ninth top-10 of the season. The result, combined with Michael Annett’s 30th-place finish, allowed Herbst to expand his advantage over the top-12 cutoff to make the NASCAR Playoffs. While on the bubble in 12th, Herbst now has a 68-point margin over 13th-place Annett with three races remaining in the regular season before the NASCAR Playoffs begin Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“To be honest, we’re happy with a 10th-place finish, but it kind of sucks when we had a car capable of winning, but that’s just the racer in me. Overall, it was a really, really good day for our year and our points situation. We’ll take it, but, man, finishing 10th with a first-place car is always a gut punch. I think we had to play it safe, but I don’t know. I just want to win a race and show people that I can win a race in this series. We’ll go to Darlington.”

Notes:
● Herbst increased his laps led total at Daytona to 25.
● Justin Haley won the Wawa 250 to score his fourth career Xfinity Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Daytona. His margin over second-place AJ Allmendinger was .023 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Thirty-one of the 40 drivers in the Wawa 250 finished on the lead lap.
● Allmendinger leaves Daytona as the new championship leader by just a single point over second-place Austin Cindric.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

-SHR-