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Riley Herbst Pondering 2025 Options in All Three NASCAR Series

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

With Stewart-Haas Racing confirmed to be ceasing operations of its Cup and Xfinity Series program at the end of the current season, Riley Herbst is one of the six drivers who will be tasked with finding a new seat for the 2025 NASCAR season.

Herbst is currently in the midst of his fifth season in the Xfinity Series, four of which have been under the purview of Stewart-Haas Racing. With the support of long-time partner Monster Energy, the Las Vegas, Nevada native is likely to have several options on the table for 2025.

Speaking to the media at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, Herbst confirmed suspicions that options were plentiful for the 25-year-old.

“There’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes, but it’s not really just Riley Herbst, it’s Monster Energy as well,” Herbst said on Saturday. “The biggest thing is trying to see what’s right for me, what’s right for Monster Energy.”

“I have really good people around me with Josh Jones and Kevin Harvick trying to guide me in the right position and I’m gonna lean on their experience. I have last year and I’m going to again this year and there’s a lot of options on the table, so we’re looking forward to everything and hearing everybody out,” Herbst added.

When pressed further about the nature of those options, and whether it included a full-time run in the NASCAR Cup Series, Herbst alluded to his decision being wide-open, with opportunities available in each of NASCAR’s top three divisions.

Herbst has spent the last five seasons in the Xfinity Series, earning a single victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Fall. The driver of the No. 98 Ford Mustang has earned a post-season berth in three of the last four years, missing out last season after a dismal mid-season run.

This weekend at Nashville, Herbst will run double-duty, making his seventh NASCAR Cup Series start in Sunday’s Ally 400. Over the last two seasons, the defending Baja 1000 winner has dipped his toes into NASCAR’s top level on a part-time basis, scoring two top-10s in six starts.

But, is having a NASCAR Cup Series seat so important to Herbst that he’d be willing to sacrifice the higher-tier ride quality he might get by staying in the NASCAR Xfinity Series or dropping to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series?

“At least for myself and my sponsor, it’s important to be in competitive rides. I think that’s the easiest way to surround yourself with good people and put yourself in good equipment,” said Herbst. “That’s first and foremost, so I think that’s going to be our priority for us this offseason, where we land, is to be in a ride that’s extremely competitive whether it be in any three series.”

Earlier this year, Herbst made his non-superspeedway debut in the Cup Series at Kansas Speedway, driving the No. 15 for Rick Ware Racing. The Xfinity Series full-timer finished the race 35th, two laps down, in a performance that he referred to Saturday as “pretty dismal”.

Granted, the seventh-generation NASCAR Cup Series vehicle is vastly different from anything that Herbst has driven before in his professional racing career, so the expectation is that it will take some time to adapt.

With all of that in mind, Herbst isn’t going into Sunday with the high-pressure mentality of the 400-miler at Nashville being an audition for a NASCAR Cup Series seat but is just taking time to soak up everything he possibly can in an attempt to become a better driver.

“I don’t [feel pressure], honestly, and the reason why I tell you that is because I feel like I’ve surrounded myself with good people,” Herbst said. “If we go out and have a good run tomorrow and Sunday in the Cup car I don’t think that solidifies anything and if I go out and do what I did at Kansas, I don’t think that solidifies anything either. It’s just about learning. It’s about completing all the laps and it’s about becoming a better race car driver.”

Herbst will tackle the 1.33-mile concrete confines of Nashville Superspeedway this weekend, contesting 250 miles in Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250, before hitting the racetrack again on Sunday in the Ally 400, for a total of 650 miles (488 laps) in the scorching heat of Lebanon, Tennessee.

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