• Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is a 1.5-mile oval, and its layout is a welcome sight to Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). In the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ most recent visit to a 1.5-mile oval two weeks ago at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Herbst set the fastest time in practice and backed it up with his first career pole. Texas is a sister track to Charlotte, and Herbst aims to carry the speed he displayed in Charlotte right through to the checkered flag Saturday at Texas.
• Charlotte was unique in that it was one of the few Xfinity Series races this year where drivers got to practice and qualify before the race. For the Alsco Uniforms 250 Saturday at Texas, it’s back to just a race, where the only warmup is the walk from the hauler in the garage to the car on pit road. But in addition to being buoyed by his performance at Charlotte, Herbst’s history at intermediate-style tracks is strong. His best career finishes have come at intermediate tracks like Texas. Herbst owns a pair of second-place results – Feb. 29, 2020 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and July 9, 2020 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
• The Alsco Uniforms 250 will mark Herbst’s 57th career Xfinity Series start, but just his third at Texas. The 22-year-old racer from Las Vegas has earned six top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. Herbst earned his first top-10 in his Xfinity Series debut when he finished sixth on June 17, 2018 at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
• In last week’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Herbst’s bid for his third top-five of the season was foiled when his No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang was forced off the track on the final lap of the B&L Transport 170. After starting the race in ninth, Herbst dropped out of the top-10 in the early going as incidents brought out the caution flag after just two turns and then again on lap seven. He made steady forward progress and crossed the line seventh at the end of the first stage. Herbst started 11th for the second stage and gradually worked his way up to fourth by its end, earning seven valuable bonus points. Herbst restarted the final stage in 17th and steadily gained positions from the drop of the green flag, reaching the top-10 by lap 67. The caution flag flew on lap 68 for multiple incidents with Herbst running ninth. Herbst took the green flag in fourth place for a green-white-checkered run to the finish. He held his position as the field took the white flag, but was caught up in a cluster of cars while negotiating the esses on the backstretch and, while gathering control of his No. 98 machine, Herbst found himself alongside another car that nudged him off the track. Herbst was able to rejoin the race, but it left him an undeserved 21st when the checkered flag fell.