The 2019 racing season was a challenging one for 2017 ARCA Menards Series Bounty Rookie of the Year Riley Herbst.
After two full seasons in ARCA with Joe Gibbs Racing, Herbst bounced between the JGR ARCA entry, which he split with team owner Joe Gibbs’s grandson Ty, a JGR NASCAR XFINITY Series car, and Kyle Busch Motorsports’ NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series team. Herbst also made a handful of starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for DGR-Crosley Racing.
The race vehicles couldn’t be more different, Herbst thrived in all of them.
In eight appearance in the ARCA Menards Series, Herbst finished in the top ten five times, including a season-best second at Talladega and Pocono. Herbst won at Pocono in his 2017 rookie season and looked to have another visit to victory lane in his sights, but he was beat off pit road on lap 68 by eventual race winner Ty Majeski, leaving him to settle for his second runner-up finish of the year.
Herbst also scored top ten finishes in the season-opener at Daytona, where he finished tenth, and at Chicagoland and on the dirt at DuQuoin, where he earned a pair of sixth-place results.
Herbst made nine starts in the XFINITY Series, earning the pole in his first appearance of the season at Richmond on his way to ninth at the finish. He also scored a tenth-place finish at Chicagoland and the closed the year with his third top-ten run of the season at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, when he also finished in the ninth position.
A trio of Gander Trucks starts was also on the docket. Herbst finished ninth in his first start at Kansas and nearly pulled off the win at Talladega, leading through the tri-oval before being pushed onto the apron just before the finish line. His momentum broken, Herbst was relegated to third in the final results.
Despite not running for a championship in any series in 2019, Herbst will have a great opportunity in 2020 as he’s been selected to compete for the NASCAR XFINITY Series title for Joe Gibbs Racing.
ARCA’s 67th season will come to a close when Christian Eckes will officially be crowned the 36th ARCA Menards Series champion on Saturday, December 14 at the Championship Banquet held at the Indiana State Convention Center, held annually in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. Tickets to the black tie gala, which are also available to the general public, are on sale now.