Herbst enters Stewart-Haas Racing with high expectations for 2021

Herbst enters Stewart-Haas Racing with high expectations for 2021
Courtesy of Stewart-Haas Racing

Riley Herbst will pilot the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2021.

Herbst replaces Chase Briscoe, who had a remarkable nine-win season with crew chief Richard Boswell in the Xfinity Series before being promoted to the No. 14 Cup car.

With all the pieces in place, Herbst will have no excuses in his sophomore season on the NXS tour.

“Being on a team with such a strong run of success is the kind of opportunity every driver wants,” Herbst said. “Expectations are definitely high, but the highest expectations are the ones I’ve set for myself. I’m proud to be a part of Stewart-Haas Racing and I can’t wait to climb into that No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang next year.”

Herbst will continue with support from Monster Energy, who sponsored the 21-year-old’s efforts during the last two seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing.

“We have been a part of Riley’s racing career since it started and we are genuinely excited about rejoining Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Mitch Covington, Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing, Monster Energy.

“We saw Riley’s potential early on and it’s been proven by how quickly he has adapted to stock cars. He’s a next-generation talent with all the resources to succeed.”

The Las Vegas native started racing go-karts before following the off-road racing trail of his grandfather, Jerry, and uncles Tim and Ed, and father Troy in 2006. All four are members of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame for their championship-winning off-road racers exploits.

Herbst returned to pavement when he was 10—initially in Legends cars before graduating to Speed Trucks and Super Late Models. In 2015, Herbst won the  Speed Trucks track championship at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.

The teenager moved to the K&N Pro Series beginning in 2016. The following year he advanced to the ARCA Menards Series. His first ARCA win came at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June. Herbst went on to win 2017 rookie honors. He continued with ARCA while dabbling in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, K&N Series and CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour in 2018. That June, Herbst made his Xfinity Series debut at Iowa Speedway. He qualified ninth and finished sixth. Herbst continued to compete in a variety of series in 2019 before running for rookie honors this season with JGR. In 33 starts, Herbst posted four top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. His best result was second at both Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

“Riley has really just scratched the surface of his potential,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, SHR. “He reminds us a lot of Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe—two drivers who came to SHR’s Xfinity Series program with plenty of potential who then realized that potential and, between the two of them, won a lot of races and are now in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“Riley has the talent to emulate what Cole and Chase did in our equipment and we’re going into 2021 with the expectation that we’ll celebrate his first Xfinity Series win together.”

Kevin Harvick, Custer and Briscoe have amassed 21 wins in the Xfinity Series under the SHR banner. Co-owner Tony Stewart expects Herbst will follow suit.

“We built the Xfinity Series program to develop talent and ultimately win with that talent,” Stewart said. “It’s a proven path to the NASCAR Cup Series, and we feel that Riley has the ability to win and grow within our race team.”

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