HomeNASCAR NewsNASCAR Teams NewsRiley Herbst and Crew Chief Reflect on Growth Amid Team Changes

Riley Herbst and Crew Chief Reflect on Growth Amid Team Changes

Riley Herbst and Crew Chief Reflect on Growth: Riley Herbst and crew chief Davin Restivo’s reflections on their growth amid significant team changes offer a compelling narrative of resilience and synergy in the NASCAR. Initially met with skepticism, the mid-season crew chief change posed numerous challenges, yet through relentless adaptation and open dialogue, they achieved a breakthrough victory in Las Vegas. Their story highlights the importance of perseverance and sets the stage for an in-depth look at how these dynamics have shaped their current playoff ambitions. What specific strategies have they employed to turn initial disruptions into career-defining successes?

Key Highlights

  • Riley Herbst and Davin Restivo initially faced challenges but adapted through persistent efforts and open communication.
  • The crew chief change reflected Stewart-Haas Racing’s commitment to optimizing performance mid-season.
  • Herbst and Restivo’s evolving synergy led to notable performances at Pocono, Road America, and Michigan.
  • Despite missing the playoffs, their collaboration improved, culminating in a breakthrough victory at the Alsco Uniforms 302.
  • Their strategic decision-making and refined race strategies have been crucial to Herbst’s current playoff standing and recent successes.

Crew Chief Change and Initial Reactions

In 2023, Riley Herbst encountered a significant moment in his career when Stewart-Haas Racing announced the mid-season replacement of his long-time crew chief, Richard Boswell, with Davin Restivo. This decision, announced ahead of the decisive Chicago race, was part of a broader team restructuring that reassigned Boswell to Chase Briscoe’s Cup Series team.

Herbst, who had collaborated closely with Boswell since 2021, was taken aback by the timing and rationale behind the change. Herbst’s initial reaction was one of skepticism and disappointment. Having developed a professional rapport and strategic understanding with Boswell over two seasons, the unexpected shift felt abrupt and unfair. Herbst voiced concerns about the decision-making process, suggesting that the transformation might disrupt the continuity and momentum they had been building.

The announcement came at a critical moment in the season, amplifying the stakes and uncertainties. From Herbst’s perspective, the timing of the switch posed a significant challenge, potentially affecting his performance and the team’s collective dynamics. Despite these reservations, the decision was indicative of Stewart-Haas Racing’s commitment to optimizing team performance through strategic adjustments.

Riley Herbst and Crew Chief Reflect on Growth 2

Initial Challenges and Adaptation

Steering through the initial challenges of the crew chief change, Riley Herbst and Davin Restivo faced a period of adaptation marked by fluctuating performance and evolving team dynamics. Adapting to a new crew chief is inherently fraught with difficulties, and the duo’s early performances reflected this adjustment. Herbst’s struggle in the initial three outings, finishing 20th or worse, highlighted the immediate impact of the change. Such results were a clear reminder of the complexities involved in adjusting to new strategies, communication styles, and operational rhythms.

“I didn’t think it was to the best standards of the company to change my crew chief a little bit more than a [third] of the way through the season. I didn’t think that was truly fair, just because higher-ups wanted Briscoe and Boswell back together because of their 2020 campaign.”  – Riley Herbst

Despite these early hurdles, the partnership between Herbst and Restivo began to find its rhythm post-Chicago. A significant factor in their subsequent improvement was their ability to harness the lessons learned from their initial setbacks. Through persistent efforts and open communication, the team gradually refined their approach, leading to a more cohesive and effective collaboration. This adaptability was evident in their subsequent performance, which saw a marked enhancement.

“I think that’s what frustrated me the most about the whole thing. Not that Richard was leaving or that I was getting Davin because ultimately Davin is awesome, and I like him, it’s just the fact of how they did it.” -Riley Herbst

Notable performances at Pocono, Road America, and Michigan were proofs of their growing synergy. Achieving two top-5 finishes and a sixth-place finish demonstrated that their efforts were yielding tangible results. These successes were not merely a result of improved driving or strategy alone, but a coming together of enhanced team dynamics and mutual understanding. Each race acted as a stepping stone, reinforcing their collective confidence and operational coherence.

Season Progression and Missed Playoffs

As the season unfolded, Riley Herbst and Davin Restivo diligently honed their collaboration, reflecting a steadfast commitment to overcoming the hurdles that stood between them and a playoff berth. Throughout the regular season, the duo faced numerous challenges, yet their persistent efforts to refine their strategies and communication bore fruit, culminating in notable performances that, although impressive, left them just shy of playoff consideration.

  1. Essential Improvement: Herbst and Restivo’s partnership evolved as they consistently analyzed and adapted their approach, resulting in a series of enhanced race finishes.
  2. Noteworthy Races: Despite missing the playoffs, Herbst’s sixth-place finish in one of the critical races was a reflection of their relentless drive and strategic skill.
  3. Building Resilience: The 23rd place finish in another significant race, though disappointing, was a learning experience that strengthened their resilience and determination for future competitions.

Their journey through the regular season was a narrative of tenacity and gradual progress. Each race served as a learning platform, where lessons were carefully dissected and integrated into their overarching strategy. The near-miss on the playoff consideration was a poignant reminder of the thin margins that define success in this highly competitive arena.

While their efforts did not culminate in a playoff spot, the foundation laid during this season has undeniably fortified their prospects. The teamwork between Herbst and Restivo, forged through trials and tribulations, promises a resilient and formidable combination poised for breakthroughs in subsequent seasons. Their experience, though fraught with challenges, has been a reflection of their unwavering dedication and potential for future successes.

Riley Herbst and Crew Chief Reflect on Growth 1

Career-High Performances and Breakthrough Victory

Riley Herbst’s 2023 season reached new heights with a series of career-high performances, highlighted by a commanding victory at the Alsco Uniforms 302 race in Las Vegas. This milestone win, characterized by a 15-second lead, not only marked Herbst’s initial success at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but also highlighted his significant development as a driver. This achievement was a reflection of the growing synergy between Herbst and his crew chief, Davin Restivo.

Herbst’s remarkable run of five consecutive top-five finishes prior to his Las Vegas victory showed his increasing consistency and competitiveness within the NASCAR Cup Series. This streak of high placements illustrated a significant shift in Herbst’s trajectory, transforming him from a promising talent to a formidable contender. The Las Vegas win was particularly noteworthy as it demonstrated his ability to dominate under challenging circumstances, a vital trait for any driver aiming for sustained success in the sport.

Current Season and Playoff Aspirations

With the SciAps 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on the horizon, Herbst’s strong performance this season has solidified his position in the playoff standings, currently holding seventh place. This achievement is underpinned by three top-5 finishes and six top-10 results, reflecting a consistency that has kept him well above the playoff elimination line.

As he and his team gear up for the critical stages of the season, their focus remains sharply on translating this momentum into concrete playoff success.

Herbst’s progress this season is not merely a product of individual skill but also a reflection of the synergy with his crew chief, Davin Restivo. This partnership, now celebrating its anniversary, has been instrumental in refining their race strategies and execution. The duo’s growing rapport is evident in their approach to race weekends, optimizing car setups, and making in-race adjustments that cater to the dynamic demands of each track.

  1. Consistency: Herbst’s ability to consistently finish in the top-10 has provided a stable foundation for his playoff campaign, minimizing risks and accumulating essential points.
  2. Strategic Alignment: The collaborative relationship with Restivo has led to strategic decisions that have enhanced their performance, particularly in such scenarios.
  3. Future Focus: With a keen eye on upcoming races, the team is poised to capitalize on their strengths, aiming for not just playoff qualification but also deep advancement.

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News in Brief: Riley Herbst and Crew Chief Reflect on Growth

The story of Riley Herbst and crew chief Davin Restivo highlights the impactful power of resilience and teamwork in NASCAR. Despite initial skepticism and disruption due to mid-season changes, their collaborative efforts culminated in a significant victory in Las Vegas and improved race finishes.

Through persistent adaptation and open communication, they have refined their partnership, establishing a solid foundation for future playoff campaigns and exemplifying the benefits of perseverance in the face of challenges.

Our Reader’s Queries

Q. What team does Riley Herbst drive for?

Riley Herbst pilots the No. 98 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Q. Who is Riley Herbst driving for in 2024?

A. Riley Herbst, who debuted in the NASCAR Cup Series last season with Rick Ware Racing, will make a comeback with RWR for the 2024 Daytona 500 and will also participate in several races during the upcoming Cup Series season.

Q. Who drives the 98 car?

A. Riley Herbst handles the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

ALSO READ: Riley Herbst Rumored for 23XI Cup Car After Stewart’s Exit

Saksham Chitransh
Saksham Chitransh
Saksham Chitransh is a Motorsports journalist specializing in NASCAR coverage for Slicksandsticks.com. With a keen focus on NASCAR teams, Saksham has penned insightful articles on prominent entities such as Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske etc. His in-depth analysis and passion for motorsports bring a unique perspective to the world of racing journalism.


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