By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Riley Herbst has quietly had a decent start to the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. He began the year with a fourth-place run in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, followed that up with a ninth-place run at Auto Club Speedway, and then finished 14th in the third race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
2022 will be Herbst’s third full-time season in the Xfinity Series and finishing in the top 15 in the first three races of the year would arguably be his strongest start to a season.
Unfortunately for the No. 98 team, they would not continue this trend at Phoenix Raceway.
Herbst started the United Rentals 200 from the 21st position, his worst qualifying effort so far in 2022. However, he was able to work his way up as high as 12th before spinning out and hitting the wall in turn three, bringing out the first caution of the race on lap 23. The 23-year-old driver told his team that the brake pedal went to the floor.
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Herbst appeared to get out of the car gingerly as his No. 98 Ford sat on the track with extensive damage. He would eventually be checked and released from the infield care center.
“I am okay, I am thankful to NASCAR and everybody for that,” Herbst said outside the care center. “That was probably one of the hardest hits I have taken. I thought we had a pretty good Monster Energy Ford Mustang. I went into 3 and hit the brake and it hooked a hard right and went to the floor. I don’t know what happened. I am really bummed because I thought we had a decent west coast swing and now we are going to be 37th here and have to go to Atlanta, a new race track. Hopefully we can grab some points there. But yeah, that hurt.”
Herbst would be credited with a 38th-place finish.
The Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Nalley Cars 250, where Herbst has made three career starts. He finished 19th the last time the series was at the track, and sixth in the spring race in 2021.
Catch the race Saturday, March 19th at 5:00PM ET on FS1 and PRN.
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images