Cole Custer is Happy for his Teammate and Friend, Riley Herbst

Cole Custer is happy for his teammate and friend, Riley Herbst after earning his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Las Vegas

The NASCAR Xfinity Series winner of the Alsco Uniforms 302, Riley Herbst has been friends with Cole Custer throughout their careers. This year, they are teammates at Stewart Haas Racing,

Continuing the Family Tradition of Racing

Riley Herbst is a third-generation driver who started racing with his family throughout the southwest and west coast. He started in go-karts on asphalt at the age of five. Then, following in the steps of his grandfather, Jerry, Herbst went to Off-Road dirt racing. His uncles Tim and Ed along with his dad Troy were also dirt racers. The family passion for racing is clear. They’re all inductees of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame for being championship Off-Road racers.

At the age of ten, Herbst came back to asphalt racing beginning with Legends Cars and moving on to Speed Truck and Super Late Models. He was a regular at Irwindale Speedway in both classes, becoming the Speed Trucks track championship. Cole Custer was racing with Herbst along the way while becoming best friends.

In 2016 the two drivers moved on to the K&N Pro Series West where Herbst scored seven top fives, and ten top-tens for the season. He ran three K&N Pro Series East races the same year earning top-tens in every start.

Moving On to the ARCA Menards Series

Continuing to set the stage for their NASCAR careers, Herbst and Custer would move on to the ARCA Menards Series in 2017. Herbst scored a pole award at Elko and the next week won his first event at Pocono. On the year he scored six top fives and ten top tens earning him Rookie of the Year honors. In his second ARCA season, Herbst took home eight top fives and 15 top tens while also taking on select races in the CARS tour, the K&N Series, and some NASCAR Truck Series races. On June 17th, Herbst made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Iowa Speedway where he impressively qualified ninth and finished the race in sixth place. He ran a similar schedule in 2019.

Taking on NASCAR

In 2020 he became a full-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series when he scored four top fives and 17 top tens in 33 starts.

When Herbst started at SHR in 2021, he had no teammates and finished his first year with the organization with five top-fives and 13 top-tens. In his second year, Herbst improved with eight top-fives and 20 top ten finishes in 33 starts. However, three years in the Xfinity Series, and Herbst had no wins, leading some to doubt his place in NASCAR.

In the 2023 season, Cole Custer came back to the Xfinity Series to race full-time. For the first time Riley Herbst had a teammate at SHR. It didn’t hurt that his new teammate was also his best friend.

Las Vegas Native Riley Herbst Gets his First NASCAR Xfinity Series Win at his Hometrack

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend, Herbst had a decisive victory at his home track by 14.9 seconds over the championship leader, John Hunter Nemechek. The victory was the 100th win for Stewart Haas Racing. Cole Custer finshed in third-place and just after the race it was clear that he was happy for his teammate and friend Riley Herbst.

“He’s just done a great job and he takes it serously. He’s done a great job of building and building. He’s not someone who’s lazy, he’s just had a ton of bad luck this year. It’s cool to see how far he’s going. As teammates we’ve worked really well together bouncing ideas off each other. So, it’s worked out really good.”

in the media center after his victory, Herbst was jubilant about the success of his No. 98 SHR team. The victory was a welcome site after struggling the last three years.

“We just beat everybody in the playoffs, trying to go to Phoenix. They all brought their best stuff and we whooped ’em by about ten seconds” Herbst was later corrected that his margin of victory was closer to 15 seconds.

“Everybody said we can’t do it, couldn’t do it, won’t win, not good enough. I just flat out just beat them. So, I’m pretty happy with myself and with Stewart Haas Racing for sticking behind me. This is a huge win off my shoulders. I’m so relieved to be here in victory lane.”

The Pivotal Moment for Riley Herbst

So, was there a turning point for Riley Herbst and his team? Just when all seems to be the darkest, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He says it started earlier this year with a new crew chief, Davin Restivo.

“There are a bunch of pivotal moments, a lot of grounding moments, a lot of hard discussion with Kevin Harvick, my old crew chief Richard Boswell. But, right when I thought the train was rolling in the right direction, and being as close as I ever was to winning a race, my crew chief was promoted to the Cup Series and I felt like it was just over. I was really down on myself, and just kind of gave up.

“But then, this guy named Davin came down from the Cup Side and told me ‘we were going to go win races.’ In our first race, we finished second at Nashville and from there on out, I knew life was back in me and the 98 team. Davin’s just been a savior for me and my family and for the 98 team to get to victory lane.”

Take Cole Custer Plus Davin Restivo to Equal Victory Lane for Riley Herbst

“Rising tides raise all ships. So, when Cole came over I knew he would have to elevate me to my highest level of ability. And, I feel like he did in his first six or seven races back in the Xfinity Series. We were the points leader at Richmond. And then, the wheels just fell off our season.

“So, yesterday I thought Cole was the best car in practice. I really studied his data and came over to talk with him a little bit. And I think Davin made tremendous adjustments overnight and throughout the race to get us into a race winning car. And we ended up in victory lane.”