• Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway hosts its second NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the road course. The track held its first race on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile circuit last August after the series was unable to race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International due to COVID-19 restrictions. This will be Riley Herbst’s second Xfinity Series start on the Daytona road course. His finished seventh in last year’s race.
• Herbst will sport the familiar colors of Monster Energy this weekend. In last week’s season-opening race on Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval, he started fourth based on 2020 owner points after qualifying was rained out. He led 12 laps in the first stage and was a contender for the stage win, finishing only .004 of a second behind Brandon Jones. Even after falling back in the field, Herbst rallied his No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang into the top-10 in the last 30 laps. Ultimately, a multicar accident with less than 20 laps to go collected Herbst and relegated him to an undeserved 26th-place finish.
• Herbst, who will turn 22 on Feb. 24, has 44 Xfinity Series starts on a resume that includes four top-fives and 21 top-10s. He has his sights set on his first career Xfinity Series victory with youth and recent history on his side. Consider:
▬ In his past two road-course starts at Daytona and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval, Herbst has not finished outside the top-12.
▬ Eight of the last 12 road-course winners were under the age of 29.
▬ Chase Briscoe scored his Xfinity Series win with the No. 98 Ford Mustang on the Charlotte Roval in 2018 at the age of 23.
▬ Ford has won seven of the last 12 road-course races. Two of the wins came from the No. 98 team.
▬ Herbst’s best road-course result (seventh) came in his first start on the Daytona road course last August.
▬ In its 10 road-course starts, the No. 98 Ford Mustang has earned two wins, three top-fives and eight top-10s.
• While Herbst only has a limited number of road-course starts, The Las Vegas-native has been a quick learner. In his first Xfinity Series start on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last July, an accident relegated Herbst to a 33rd-place result. A month later, he finished seventh on the Daytona road course. In only four series starts on road courses, he has one top-10 and two top-15s.
• Herbst has two additional road-course starts in K&N Pro Series East and West competition. His finished fifth in 2016 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and 12th in 2019 at Watkins Glen.