Herring excels in fill-in duty, hungry for races
Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography courtesy of Joe Gibbs Racing SPARTA, Ky. -- Joe Gibbs knows how valuable a solid backup quarterback can be from his stints as the head coach for the NFL's Washington Redskins. And a solid fill-in and spot driver can be just about the same. Drew Herring was at Kentucky Speedway this weekend shaking down the No. 54 Toyota in practice and qualifying for Erik Jones ahead of Saturday night's NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Jones competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before flying to Kentucky for the XFINITY race. Herring has played this role before in 2015. He practiced and qualified for Jones' in both Iowa events, even winning the pole in the No. 20 Toyota in May. He also practiced in the No. 54 Toyota at Chicagoland Speedway in June, helping to get the No. 54 setup for Jones' victory at the 1.5-mile track. So how does Herring prepare for his fill-in gig? "It helps that all of these guys (the JGR crew) are the best in the business and that we're driving good race cars, fast race cars and we unload close," Herring told NASCAR.com at Kentucky. "I'm not having to take our first run and really get acclimated and try and figure out what the car is doing because it's all so close. It really helps me out and then I just try to go back and watch races, talk with Erik (Jones), talk with Chris (Gayle, crew chief of the No. 54 Toyota in the XFINITY Series). "We've gone through things that happened the first race, what they looked for and what happened from practice to race. All those things just for me to download and to be as prepared as I can to give them the best read in the car and do the best job I can." On Friday, Herring showed off some speed and saving skills. He topped a rain-shortened final practice was a fast lap of 175.959 mph. He also made a great save in the latter minutes of final practice when he got loose coming off of Turn 4. "It's fun to get to drive these cars. It's not much fun getting out on race day but it's a whole lot better than sitting at home and watching." The 28-year-old North Carolina native has made 15 career XFINITY Series starts with the last start coming in the 2013 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . He has five top fives with his best result a fourth-place run at Kentucky in September of 2012. Herring remains on the lookout for an opportunity that can put him in a car on a consistent basis. "I want nothing more than to be behind the wheel of a race car every weekend as much as I can. This is what I love to do. I've been doing it since I was nine. It's a true passion of mine and I thoroughly enjoy coming to the racetrack. "We are working on it but it all comes down unfortunately to not the talent side as much it comes down to the funding and the monetary side. We are constantly on the lookout for sponsors and trying to get people to want to be involved. For me, its just trying to find someone that wants to win races and championships because I know if we can get somebody on board, we'll do that for them. It's tough. There's a lot of people that are doing the same thing I am."
Herring , Scott top practice sessions at Kentucky
RELATED: Practice 2 results SPARTA, Ky. -- Rain ended Friday's on-track activity early for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Kentucky Speedway . Final practice was set to run from 6 p.m. to 7:25 p.m. ET, but a red flag for wet weather came out around 30 minutes in with NASCAR calling it shortly thereafter. At the time of the stoppage, Drew Herring (175.959 mph) was at the top of the speed chart. Herring is practicing and qualifying the No. 54 Toyota for Erik Jones and Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky. Jones will be in the No. 54 for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) Ryan Blaney (175.661 mph) and Daniel Suarez (175.593 mph) were in the top three in the final practice session. Brian Scott topped the opening practice with a speed of 178.159 mph, followed by his RCR teammates of Ty Dillon (177.439 mph) and Brandon Jones (177.194 mph). Chris Buescher enters this weekend's race with a 25-point lead on Dillon and a 28-point lead on defending series champion Chase Elliott in the driver championship standings. Brendan Gaughan is the defending race winner. The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 is the final standalone of the 2015 XFINITY Series schedule. XFINITY Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra) with the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. Brad Keselowski won the July XFINITY Series race at Kentucky in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. That car will be driven this weekend by Ryan Blaney , who won this race in 2013 for his first career XFINITY Series win. It has been a rainy NASCAR season for the 1.5-mile oval track as much of the NASCAR tripleheader schedule in July was washed out by rain. All three national series races were run at their scheduled times, but most practice and qualifying sessions were rained out. RELATED: Practice 1 results Brian Scott topped the leaderboard during the final minutes of opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Kentucky Speedway . In the series' final stand-alone event of the year, Scott had a fastest lap of 178.159 mph in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Scott's RCR teammate, Ty Dillon , was right behind him, wheeling his No. 3 Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile track with a fastest lap of 177.439 mph. Next was Brandon Jones , who finished with the third-fastest lap (177.194 mph) after topping the leaderboard for much of the first session. Ryan Blaney (176.840 mph) and Daniel Suarez (176.811 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending race winner Brendan Gaughan was ninth-fastest, pulling a fastest lap of 175.279 mph.
Herring fastest during qualifying at Iowa
JGR's No. 20, No. 18 speed to top times RELATED: Full qualifying results Drew Herring did more than keep the seat hot for Erik Jones during qualifying at Iowa Speedway Saturday night. Herring was fastest in Coors Light Qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series 3M 250 on Sunday (2 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). Jones will get into the seat Sunday, but will have to start at the rear of the field. Herring , in the No. 20 Toyota, turned a lap of 134.391 mph around the 0.875-mile oval track in the final round. It was an all front row for Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday night, as Daniel Suarez qualified second (134.351 mph) in the No. 18. Brian Scott (133.906), Chris Buescher (133.803) and Brandon Jones (133.752) qualified among the top five. Defending series champion Chase Elliott will start sixth. Ty Dillon , the series points leader (330) through nine races, qualified ninth. Scott led the final practice at Iowa Speedway with a time of 133.747 mph. Ryan Blaney , the 2014 pole winner for the May race at Iowa, will start 13th. Ben Rhodes , who will make his XFNITY Series debut Sunday driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, qualified 14th. Follow the XFINITY Series 3M 250 on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JGR tabs Hamlin, Herring to fill in for Vickers
Hamlin will drive at Texas; Herring will drive at Phoenix and Homestead
Hamlin says Herring has bright future
Denny Hamlin says back feels a lot better and Drew Herring has a bright future with JGR.
Pole sitter Herring brings out first caution
Pole sitter Drew Herring spins to bring out first caution at Iowa Speedway.
Hard contact for Herring at Bristol
Drew Herring is done for the night after hard contact with the backstretch wall.
Swindell damaged after contact with Herring
Kevin Swindell crashes into the Turn 3 wall after contact with Drew Herring .
Results from Dover heat races
Heat 1 Fin Str Car Driver 1 2 7 Justin Allgaier * 2 1 20 Erik Jones * 3 3 88 Alex Bowman 4 6 22 Joey Logano 5 4 2 Paul Menard 6 7 6 Darrell Wallace Jr 7 5 48 Brennan Poole 8 8 16 Ryan Reed 9 9 44 JJ Yeley 10 11 11 Blake Koch 11 10 24 Drew Herring 12 14 14 Jeff Green 13 15 90 Mario Gosselin 14 16 0 Garrett Smithley 15 18 97 Alex Guenette 16 12 01 Ryan Preece 17 17 13 Timmy Hill 18 20 70 Derrike Cope 19 13 10 Matt DiBenedetto 20 19 74 Mike Harmon * Justin Allgaier and Erik Jones are Dash 4 Cash-eligible for the main race. Heat 2 Fin Str Car Driver 1 3 3 Ty Dillon * 2 1 19 Daniel Suarez * 3 5 39 Ryan Sieg 4 4 18 Matt Tifft 5 7 33 Brandon Jones 6 6 62 Brendan Gaughan 7 13 43 Jeb Burton 8 10 4 Ross Chastain 9 9 51 Jeremy Clements 10 11 07 Ray Black Jr 11 12 28 Dakoda Armstrong 12 20 15 Travis Kvapil 13 15 25 Ryan Ellis 14 16 52 Joey Gase 15 14 78 BJ McLeod 16 2 1 Elliott Sadler 17 8 42 Justin Marks 18 17 40 Carl Long 19 18 89 Morgan Shepherd 20 19 93 Josh Reaume * Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez are Dash 4 Cash-eligible for the main race.
Suarez soars past Blaney for Iowa pole
Suarez, Blaney starting on front row; Kenny Wallace qualifies seventh RELATED: Full qualifying results Daniel Suarez soared past Ryan Blaney in the final 30 seconds of qualifying to earn himself the second Coors Light Pole Award of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver had a fast lap of 133.441 mph in 23.606 seconds during the qualifing session on Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Team Penske 's Blaney will join Suarez on the front row during the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, Sirius XM) after coming in second on the leaderboard with a speed of 133.373 mph (23.618 seconds). Rounding out the top three during the XFINITY Series qualifying session was veteran Brendan Gaughan in his No. 62 Chevrolet (132.861 mph). For his eighth start at Iowa Speedway, Gaughan is looking for his first win at the track. The drivers of the No. 33 Chevrolet, Brandon Jones (132.750 mph), and the No. 54, Drew Herring (132.760 mph), came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Herring was filling in for Erik Jones , who was en route from Pocono Raceway after the Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 and was unable to participate in any of the practices or the qualifying round. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher , was next on the leaderboard as he qualified sixth with a fastest lap of 132.364 mph. Kenny Wallace was right behind Buescher with a strong seventh-place starting spot. Wallace will be racing for the last time as a full-time NASCAR driver Saturday night at Iowa Speedway as he recently announced his retirement. He is looking for his 10th career win. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule