Riley Herbst Martinsville NXS Advance
• Back-to-back races in the Commonwealth of Virginia have Riley Herbst looking for additional riches in Friday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The #98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang driver for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) finished a strong fifth last Saturday at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, and in addition to being his fourth top 10 in the last four short- track races of the Xfinity Series calendar, it also placed Herbst in the Dash 4 Cash. If Herbst finishes ahead of fellow Dash 4 Cash fighters — Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer and AJ Allmendinger — he will receive a $100,000 payday and automatic entry into the next Dash 4 Cash round on April 23 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
• Herbst did not become eligible for Dash 4 Cash on his own. He pulled through with a little help from his friends, namely crew chief Richard Boswell and the crew of Pit #98 Monster Energy. They helped orchestrate Herbst’s fifth-place finish at Richmond. The 23-year-old runner started 24th, but Herbst didn’t stay there long. He was 13th at the end of stage one and, thanks to his crew’s quick pit work, Herbst was in the top 10 for the start of stage two, eventually finishing the stage ninth to pick up two valuable bonus points. The third and final stage consisted of 100 laps and Herbst was methodical on every lap as the race remained green until the checkered flag, culminating in his third top five finish of the season.
• Herbst has only made three Xfinity Series starts at Martinsville. He finished sixth on his track debut in October 2020, but then endured a 29th-place finish on his return to Martinsville last April. Herbst bounced back from that spring setback when he returned to Martinsville in the fall, earning a solid 10th place finish.
• Achieving that 10th-place finish last fall during the Xfinity Series’ previous visit to Martinsville proved Herbst’s resilience. While running eighth, Herbst was picked up in a multi-car crash that left him 26th with less than 60 laps to go. His position in the track’s top 10 was out the window as Herbst needed to stop so his Monster Energy team could repair the damage to the front right of his #98 Ford Mustang and get him back on track with four new tires and fuel. Herbst is progressing methodically, rejoining the top 10 with less than 40 laps to go. He then survived two late restarts and held on to the top 10 to collect his 12th top 10 of the season.
• Friday night’s race at Martinsville will mark Herbst’s 84th career Xfinity Series start and his 14th on a short track. Herbst’s history on short tracks has been solid. After finishing an impressive sixth in his first career start in June 2018 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Herbst has earned eight more top 10 finishes on short tracks, including in his last four short track starts – fifth in last September at Richmond, third next week at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, last October 10 at Martinsville and fifth last Saturday at Richmond.