Herbst seeks ‘balance’ to clinch final Xfinity playoff spot

Herbst seeks ‘balance’ to clinch final Xfinity playoff spot

Maintaining his grasp on the 10th and final playoff berth – which Herbst owns by a one-point advantage over Parker Kligerman – will be tricky.

A win in Saturday’s race would lock Herbst in regardless of Kligerman’s performance but neither driver owns a series victory yet, so points may well end up being the determining factor.

In that case, whoever has the strongest run at Kansas should take the final spot.

“At the end of the day, we show up at the race track each and every weekend to contend for the win. It’s cool to be back in the playoffs at the moment, and I’m hoping we can keep ourselves in contention,” said Herbst, who drives the No. 98 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

“We never wanted to be in this position with how solid we were at the beginning of the year, but I know that we can bounce back from this. My hope is that we can go out, contend for the win and lock ourselves in the playoffs with a victory, but we’re also going to be conscious of the points.

“We’re in the better position right now above the cutline, so it’s about finding that balance.”

Riley Herbst, Stewart-Haas Racing, Monster Energy Ford Mustang

Riley Herbst, Stewart-Haas Racing, Monster Energy Ford Mustang

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Herbst, 24, began the 2023 season with six consecutive top-10 finishes but then suffered through a seven-race stretch in which he failed to finish four times – three because of crashes and one engine failure.

He put together another string of top-10s at Pocono, Road America and Michigan, only to follow with finishes of 12th, 35th and 24th before rebounding with a sixth-place effort at Darlington last weekend.

The Darlington run, combined with Kligerman’s 24th place finish after his involvement in a late-race spin, pushed Herbst above the playoff cutline.

All eyes now turn to Saturday’s race at Kansas, which will be Herbst’s fifth start at the 1.5-mile track.

In his four prior starts, his best finish is ninth and has finished outside of the top-16 just once. He also has four ARCA Menards Series starts at the track and two in Trucks.

“Kansas is probably one of my favorite intermediate tracks just because I have some solid history there in Trucks and ARCA,” Herbst said. “Even in the Xfinity Series, we’ve been decent there.

“We’ve had fast Fords each and every week, so now it’s just about leaving the bad luck behind us and making no mistakes. I want to be able to park in Victory Lane, and Kansas seems like a good place to do it.”

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *