2020 NASCAR Q&A: NASCAR Monster Energy Cup - Riley Herbst

Date: Dec 11, 2020 - 06:36 PM
2020 NASCAR Q&A: NASCAR Monster Energy Cup - Riley Herbst

Stewart-Haas Racing announced this afternoon that Riley Herbst will drive the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang in 2021. Herbst, who started all 33 series events last season, will replace Chase Briscoe, who has been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series. Here is a transcript of todayís Ford Zoom call with Herbst and members of the media.

RILEY HERBST, No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang Ė WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN MAKING THE MOVE TO FORD AND STEWART-HAAS RACING? ďIím just excited. Iím happy to be here and ready to get down to Daytona.Ē

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT HAVING RICHARD BOSWELL AS YOUR CREW CHIEF? ďThat was a big proponent of me coming over here to the 98 camp. Iím really looking forward to working with Richard and everybody on his team that he has assembled. Iíve spent a little bit amount of time with him so far and heís a really down to earth guy and heís a racer and wants to win races, but he also puts in a lot of work behind his effort so Iím looking forward to it.Ē

WHATíS IMPORTANT TO YOU IN A CREW CHIEF AT THIS STAGE OF YOUR CAREER? ďSomebody that will learn with me and grow with me and have some patience. I have a learning curve to be on, Iíll be the first to admit that, but I want somebody to walk me through that and help me get to where I want to be and obviously thatís in the Cup Series and win races in the Cup Series and be competitive week in and week out and Richard is the man and heís gonna be the man to help me do that and Iím excited.Ē

DOES THIS FEEL LIKE STARTING OVER IN A WAY FOR YOU? ďA little bit. I feel like Iím kind of 17 again and moved out to the east coast because Iíve been over in the JGR family for four years now, so it was a big transition but itís one I think I needed and Iím looking forward to it. All these new faces kind of give me a blank sheet to start up again and see where this can take me.Ē

WHAT WOULD A SUCCESSFUL 2021 SEASON LOOK LIKE FOR YOU CONSIDERING WHAT CHASE BRISCOE DID IN THIS CAR A YEAR AGO? ďI have to win races. I have to be competitive. This car was the best car week in and week out last year. That has a lot to do with Chase Briscoe. As you can see heís in the Cup Series now. Heís a heck of a wheel man himself, but I know Richard Boswell and all the guys on the 98 team are really smart and know what theyíre doing and theyíre gonna bring me just as fast race cars as they did last year with Chase, so itís on me.Ē

YOU HAD A SOLID ROOKIE YEAR AND HAD TEAMMATES THAT WERE ABLE TO BREAK THROUGH WITH MULTIPLE WINS. HOW TOUGH WAS THAT TO SEE AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT NOW TO BE HERE AT SHR AND FORD AND BEING THE MAIN FOCUS OF THIS TEAM? ďIt was difficult for the first half for me to process, but my teammates last year had a lot more experience than I did on these race tracks. Brandon has been in the series for quite some time now and heís a good driver as well and Harrison has been in the truck series and he knows what it took to compete in the top three national series. Harrison is really fast himself, so I wasnít surprise that they won races. I was a little surprised that we couldnít break into victory lane. That did shock me a little bit, but, then again, with the whole Covid protocols and being at these race tracks Iíve never been to before with no practice and no testing I think people forget about that and I was just showing up to race tracks Iíve never seen before and having to race. I think we adapted well to it. Do I think I performed to my expectations or anybodyís expectation? I donít think so at all, but I think thatís what this upcoming year is for with the 98 team.Ē

WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO NOT HAVE TEAMMATES THIS YEAR? ďKind of going back to 2017 and 2018 when I ran the ARCA Series I didnít have any teammates there. Itís definitely a different change of environment. You canít really bounce things off your other teammates during race weekends and things like that, but, like I said before, Richardís got a really deep notebook so I can lean on Richard super hard for notes and questions like that and trust his setups and trust his notebooks.Ē

DO YOU FEEL YOU GOT WHAT YOU NEEDED OUT OF JGR TO TAKE THIS STEP TO ANOTHER TEAM? DO YOU WISH YOU HAD DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? ďI donít know. Thatís a tough question. Like I said, I think my time at JGR just came to an end. We left on really good grounds over there. Iím really good friends with Ty and the whole family over there, that they truly are family to me and I loved working with the people over there, but it was time for a change for myself and for my career to try and revitalize it and try to go get wins. Hopefully, I can make it.Ē

TONY STEWART HAS A HISTORY OF TAKING ON DRIVERS THAT MAY HAVE HAD A ROUGH STRETCH AND WHERE PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, ĎWHY DID HE PICK THEM?í HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING PART OF SHR AND BEING ASSOCIATED WITH A TEAM THAT BRINGS THE MOST OUT OF A COMPETITOR? ďIím hoping it does the same thing as itís done to previous drivers. I hope that they can find the most out of me. That means good for me. That means good for the team, so thatís what weíre trying to do. When it comes to what people say it sucks. Everybody would like everybody to be happy for everybody, but thatís just not how this world works nowadays. People are just straight-up mean, so it doesnít really bother too much anymore. A few years ago it did, but those people are probably just haters, so itís all good.Ē

HOW DID YOU FEEL LIKE THE COMPETITION WAS IN THE XFINTY SERIES COMPARED TO WHAT YOU WERE EXPECTING, AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT NEXT SEASON? ďThe competition in the XFINITY Series is really difficult. All of the guys are really good and I kind of expected that coming up. I knew it was gonna be a challenge to race in this series and those guys were there for a reason and theyíre really fast. I hope Iím in a better position to go win races this year, just with that year of experience underneath my belt and with this new team Iíve joined at Stewart-Haas Racing I feel like this is my best foot forward to try to go win races for sure.Ē

HOW MUCH PRESSURE DO YOU PUT ON YOURSELF IN 2021 AND NOT TRY TO REPEAT WHAT CHASE DID LAST SEASON? ďI kind of just worry about myself. Like I said, Chase Briscoe is a really, really good race car driver. He had a phenomenal season last year and heís in the 14 Cup car now for a reason, but Iím kind of just gonna put my horse blinders on and work with Richard and the guys and try to go out and win races and do the best that I can do.Ē

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