Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Riley Herbst finally triumphant in home race

After 139 starts over five years, Riley Herbst can finally call himself a NASCAR Xfinity Series race winner. To make it even sweeter, he finally knocked that milestone at his home track Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Herbst, whose family is an off-road racing and Las Vegas staple, dominated Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 302 as he led 103 of 201 laps. He and Stewart-Haas Racing team-mate Cole Custer each won a stage before combining to lead all but one lap in Stage #3; Kyle Sieg, who races for ally RSS Racing, led the only other lap during green-flag pit stops before Herbst reclaimed it.

The dominant performance by SHR culminated in Herbst securing their 100th victory across all three national series. His run was such a masterful performance that he beat second-placed John Hunter Nemechek by nearly fifteen seconds.

The victory also comes just days after signing a contract extension with SHR for the 2024 season.

“I love this town. I love this team,” began Herbst. Davin Restivo (crew chief) believes in me, but I have to give a big shout out to Richard Boswell (SHR’s Xfinity director) because I wouldn’t be the person I am or the race car driver without him. I can’t thank Monster Energy enough: Mitch Covington (senior vice president of sports marketing), Dave Gowan, everybody said I couldn’t do it and those two people stuck behind my my whole career. You don’t even know what this means and what this takes off my chest. I can’t believe it. I love you, Las Vegas.

“I’ve been working on myself and everything I can control. I knew all I could do is all I could do and if there was a caution, there was a caution and we were gonna race them straight up, but oh my goodness. This year was such a failure that we didn’t make the playoffs. It’s so embarrassing to be in a car like this that doesn’t make the playoffs and walk in the garage each week with your head down, but Davin Restivo and all these guys on the #98 team told me to keep my head up and we’re going to go win a race and that’s what we did. I can’t fathom it. I can’t thank Monster Energy enough. I can’t thank my grandfather and mom and dad enough. I’m so emotional, but everybody here at Las Vegas, I love you guys. This is my home. I was born and raised here, so let’s go party and we’re going to celebrate tonight.”

After missing the playoffs, Herbst got to spoil the Round of 8 opener. Playoff drivers occupied second through seventh, with Sheldon Creed and Sammy Smith as stragglers as they finished outside the top ten.

The third stage ran caution-free, a contrast to the massive accident on lap 55 that eliminated Anthony Alfredo, Kaz Grala, Kyle Weatherman, and Josh Williams and resulted in an eight-and-a-half-minute red flag.

Ryan Reed scored a top-twenty finish in his first Xfinity Series race since 2018. He was driving a #66 prepared by Alpha Prime Racing but fielded under the MBM Motorsports banner.

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 8 98 Riley Herbst Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 201 Running
2 38 20 John Hunter Nemechek Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 201 Running
3 2 00 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 201 Running
4 4 16 Chandler Smith Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 201 Running
5 14 1 Sam Mayer JR Motorsports Chevrolet 201 Running
6 7 7 Justin Allgaier JR Motorsports Chevrolet 201 Running
7 10 21 Austin Hill Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 201 Running
8 13 9 Brandon Jones JR Motorsports Chevrolet 201 Running
9 6 10 Daniel Hemric^ Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 201 Running
10 9 11 Layne Riggs Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 201 Running
11 19 19 Myatt Snider Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 Running
12 1 8 Josh Berry JR Motorsports Chevrolet 200 Running
13 11 48 Parker Kligerman Big Machine Racing Team Chevrolet 200 Running
14 5 31 Parker Retzlaff Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet 200 Running
15 15 2 Sheldon Creed Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 Running
16 17 39 Ryan Sieg RSS Racing Ford 199 Running
17 3 18 Sammy Smith Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 199 Running
18 24 29 Kyle Sieg RSS Racing Ford 199 Running
19 28 24 Connor Mosack Sam Hunt Racing Toyota 199 Running
20 25 66 Ryan Reed MBM Motorsports Chevrolet 198 Running
21 23 44 Daniel Dye* Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet 198 Running
22 18 27 Jeb Burton Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet 197 Running
23 35 45 Rajah Caruth* Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet 197 Running
24 27 25 Brett Moffitt AM Racing Ford 197 Running
25 34 6 Brennan Poole JD Motorsports Chevrolet 197 Running
26 29 08 Stefan Parsons SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet 197 Running
27 32 43 Ryan Ellis Alpha Prime Racing Ford 197 Running
28 31 02 Blaine Perkins Our Motorsports Chevrolet 195 Running
29 37 28 C.J. McLaughlin RSS Racing Ford 194 Running
30 16 51 Jeremy Clements Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet 193 Running
31 21 74 Dawson Cram CHK Racing Chevrolet 193 Running
32 36 35 Joey Gase Emerling-Gase Motorsports Toyota 193 Running
33 26 92 Josh Williams DGM Racing Chevrolet 56 Accident
34 20 78 Anthony Alfredo B.J. McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet 54 Accident
35 22 26 Kaz Grala Sam Hunt Racing Toyota 53 Accident
36 12 91 Kyle Weatherman DGM Racing Chevrolet 53 Accident
37 30 38 Joe Graf Jr. RSS Racing Ford 12 Accident
38 33 53 Patrick Emerling Emerling-Gase Motorsports Chevrolet 3 Accident
DNQ 4 Garrett Smithley JD Motorsports Chevrolet
DNQ 07 Gray Gaulding SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet
Bold – Currently in playoffs
^ – Currently in owner playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points