Riley Herbst is the driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He is a third-generation racer from Las Vegas who is taking his family name from the deserts of the southwest to the asphalt tracks of NASCAR.
Herbst began racing go-karts at age 5, competing in events up and down the West Coast. He soon followed in his family’s footsteps, transitioning to off-road racing in 2006 where his grandfather, Jerry, and uncles Tim and Ed, and father Troy, are all Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame inductees for being championship-winning off-road racers.
But by age 10, Herbst sought a return to pavement. It began with Legends cars before moving up to Speed Trucks and Super Late Models, where in 2015 Herbst was a regular at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, running both classes and winning the Speed Trucks track championship.
That set the stage for Herbst’s NASCAR path as he competed in the K&N Pro Series beginning in 2016. This developmental league is regionally split into two divisions – K&N Pro Series East and K&N Pro Series West. Herbst ran the full Pro Series West schedule, scoring seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. He made three Pro Series East starts and finished among the top-10 each time.
Herbst advanced to the ARCA Menards Series in 2017 and won his first career ARCA race June 9 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. His scored his career-first pole a week prior at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, and his six top-fives and 10 top-10s on the year earned him the series’ rookie-of-the-year title.
Another season of ARCA followed in 2018 with Herbst tallying eight top-fives and 15 top-10s. He complemented that ARCA lineup with a smattering of races across the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, K&N Series and CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour. Herbst even made his Xfinity Series debut June 17 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, qualifying ninth and finishing an impressive sixth.
Herbst ran a similar schedule in 2019 before a full-time drive in the Xfinity Series in 2020. As a rookie running all 33 Xfinity Series races, Herbst scored four top-fives and 17 top-10s, with his best result being a pair of second-place drives – Feb. 29 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and July 9 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. All the while, Herbst continued to run select ARCA races, earning his second career victory Aug. 9 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Herbst made the NASCAR Playoffs in his rookie year and he has been a playoff contender ever since. His third and most recent Xfinity Series campaign in 2022 was his best, earning single-season career highs in top-fives (8) and top-10s (20) to secure 10th in the final championship standings.