• Riley Herbst’s goal from the onset of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season was to win a race. His best finish in 73 career Xfinity Series starts is second, earned twice – March 2020 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and July 2020 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Herbst has put himself in position for a win in 2021 too, first at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway back on May 29 where he won the pole and most recently at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 2 where he led four times for a race-high 26 laps. Only three races remain on this year’s calendar, giving the driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang added urgency to grab that coveted checkered flag.
• That long-sought victory could very well come this Saturday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The 1.5-mile oval plays host to the Kansas Lottery 300 and Herbst’s history at intermediate-style tracks like Kansas is solid. Both of his runner-up results last year at Fontana and Kentucky came on intermediate ovals. And of Herbst’s 11 top-10 finishes this season, three have been on intermediates – sixth March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 10th June 19 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, and seventh Aug. 21 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
• While a championship isn’t in the cards for Herbst this year, there’s still a points battle to be fought. The driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang jumped from 12th to 11th in the point standings thanks to his 12th-place finish and five stage points earned last Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Herbst now has a 10-point margin over 12th-place Jeremy Clements while he looks to slice away at his 24-point deficit to 10th-place Myatt Snider and the 48-point advantage ninth-place Jeb Burton enjoys. Herbst has already proven his ability to make up a lot of points in a relatively short period of time. Between the July 17 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to the regular-season finale Sept. 18 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Herbst erased a 54-point deficit to not only climb back into the top-12, but secure a 100-point margin over the top-12 playoff cutline.
• The Kansas Lottery 300 will mark Herbst’s third career Xfinity Series start at Kansas. His best finish at the 1.5-mile oval is ninth, earned in his first Xfinity Series start at the track in July 2020. In addition to his Xfinity Series starts at Kansas, the third-generation racer from Las Vegas also has one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start and four ARCA Menards Series starts. His best Kansas finish is fourth in the 2018 ARCA race.
• SHR has one Xfinity Series win at Kansas. Chase Briscoe delivered the victory last October, beating Daniel Hemric by 1.199 seconds.