RPW Column: Riley Herbst Showing The Best Start To Any NASCAR Xfinity Season Of His Career In ’23

Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – DOVER, DE – Riley Herbst continues to improve season-by-season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 98 comes into race weekend at Dover fourth in the Xfinity Series points standings, just 32 points back on leader Austin Hill.

He is also the highest driver in points without a win.

“I think there’s a lot of things, not just one,” Herbst told RPW when asked what he improved. “Consistency on and off the racetrack. Working with my crew chief Richard Boswell and understanding our goals. How to execute on our goals. My life outside of racing is very good. I’m extremely happy when I get to the racetrack while I’m at the racetrack and I think that leads to a lot of success. I’m confident every time I strap in behind the wheel. I enjoy what I do, so I think that also leads to good results and looking forward to continuing this season.”

This is the most consistent Herbst has been to begin the season since he began a full-time NXS competition in 2020.

Herbst began the season with six straight top-10s, including two top-five runs that led him to get up to second in points. However, three consecutive finishes outside the top 20 and two subsequent crashes have plagued him recently.

This is also the first time this season Herbst has had a teammate since joining SHR two years ago, with former Cup Series driver Cole Custer returning to the Xfinity Series.

“The program itself has been elevated because of Cole and what he’s brought to this program is a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge for me to ask questions and lean on and I feel like it’s kind of translated to on-track success as you guys saw for the first six weeks as well,” Herbst said.

While Herbst has still yet to score that win, he believes it could happen soon.

“Showing up to the racetrack each week I feel we have a shot to win,” Herbst said. “I feel like we have a good shot, if not an even better shot this weekend at Dover, a track I enjoy. I know we’ll have good speed, so I’m looking forward to it and if it’s not Dover, then we’ll head to Darlington and go try to win there.”

Last week at Talladega, Herbst finished 23rd after being involved in The Big One with three to go with nowhere to go, sending Daniel Hemric upside down.

However, this is a sound track for Herbst to rebound at. He has an average finish of 10.3 at Dover, his eighth-best at any track per DriverAverages.com. However, he’s yet to post a top five but believes this could be the place to do it.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Dover Motor Speedway Saturday for the A-Game 200. The green flag flies at 1:30 p.m. ET with television coverage on FS1.

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