Drew Herring made the most of his latest appearance for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, earning a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. Herring, replacing Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry with the Cup Series star in New Hampshire, qualified seventh in his fourth start of the season for JGR and third in the No. 54.
Herring, who also works in the JGR shops, was looking at a top-three finish until two late-race cautions bunched up the field.
“I just want to thank everyone on this Monster Energy team, (crew chief) Adam Stevens and the No. 11 Cup guys for coming and helping us out,” said Herring post-race. “It was just a frustrating finish, we fought all day, we weren’t quite where we wanted to be, but Adam kept making great adjustments all night and we kept getting better. It’s the same program we do every week, with the limited track time I get, I don’t want to step over my limit and so we just ride it out, save the finish, save the car. There at the end we made a charge from sixth to fourth and we were right where we needed to be. But the cautions didn’t fall our way, we were too free on restarts getting into the corner and it took four or five laps for us to get better…just frustrating. Tonight was definitely different from the last time I ran Kentucky Speedway. Running at night tends to free up the car more so we really had trouble getting into the corner. All in all I just want to thank everyone again. It’s just frustrating to end the year like this.”
Herring’s JGR teammate Brian Vickers finished just behind him in seventh place after starting 10th in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota. Vickers spent much of the 200-lap race in the top 15, going on to earn his 17th top 10 finish of the season.
Elliott Sadler, in the No. 11 SportsClips Toyota, finished 14th after qualifying 12th, and Joey Coulter, in the No. 18 Freightliner Toyota, finished 18th after a sixth-place qualifying run.
Ryan Blaney picked up his first-career Nationwide Series win, followed by Austin Dillon, Matt Crafton, Sam Hornish Jr. and Alex Bowman. Sadler and Vickers remain fourth and fifth, respectively, in Nationwide Series points.
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