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."
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.
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
Hamlin will drive at Texas; Herring will drive at Phoenix and Homestead
Denny Hamlin says back feels a lot better and Drew Herring has a bright future with JGR.
Pole sitter Drew Herring spins to bring out first caution at Iowa Speedway.
Drew Herring is done for the night after hard contact with the backstretch wall.
Kevin Swindell crashes into the Turn 3 wall after contact with Drew Herring .
RELATED: Learn more about Champion's Week DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 24, 2015) – The celebration will continue after the trophy is lifted at Homestead-Miami Speedway as NASCAR ® presents the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™ hosted by actor and comedian Drew Carey. Live from Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 4, fans can tune-in to coverage of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™ beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. NBCSN will also begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET from the red carpet, followed by the awards broadcast at 9 p.m. ET. This year's show will also feature a lineup of performances from award-winning musical artists Andy Grammer, Sam Hunt, Rachel Platten, and Sabrina Carpenter. As the current host of The Price is Right and former host of Who's Line is it Anyway? , Drew Carey will bring a seasoned air of entertainment and comedy to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards stage. Best known for his self-portrayal on The Drew Carey Show , which garnered seven Emmy nominations, Carey has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including three People’s Choice Awards, an Editor’s Choice TV Guide Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "This has been a tremendous year for NASCAR, and I'm honored to host this headlining event as fans all across the country tune-in to pay homage to the accomplishments of the 2015 champion," said Carey. "I look forward to rounding out the 2015 NASCAR ® racing season with a night of epic proportions alongside some of the greatest names in sports and entertainment." Triple-platinum selling recording artist Andy Grammer will perform at the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. The pop singer best known for hits such as “Keep Your Head Up” and “Back Home” took America by storm in 2015 with his smash single, "Honey, I'm Good" turning it into one of the year’s catchiest songs. A deluxe edition of his sophomore album, Magazines Or Novels was released on Nov. 20 featuring Andy's brand new single, "Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah.)" The evening's musical lineup will also feature country star Sam Hunt, who took home the honor of New Artist of the Year at Sunday night's American Music Awards. His critically-acclaimed debut album Montevallo has so far produced three consecutive No. 1 platinum-selling singles with "Leave the Night On," "House Party" and the double-platinum "Take Your Time," plus his current platinum-selling Top 15, "Break Up In A Small Town." Rachel Platten, one of this year's breakout artists with her double platinum No. 1 hit single, "Fight Song", will also grace the awards stage. Her current chart-climbing single, "Stand By You" will be released on her highly-anticipated forthcoming album, Wildfire. Rounding out the night's performances will be multi-talented singer / songwriter Sabrina Carpenter, who currently stars on the Disney Channel original series Girl Meets World . Carpenter released her debut album, Eyes Wide Open earlier this year, which features "We'll be the Stars" and its namesake single, "Eyes Wide Open." "The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards marks the pinnacle of our season as we have the opportunity to commend the drivers and teams for all of their hard work and dedication throughout the year," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "With Drew Carey at the wheel and a lineup of performances from some of the most celebrated entertainers in the music industry, it will certainly be a finale to remember for everyone joining us in Las Vegas and the NASCAR fans watching at home." This year's artists will join a star-studded group of actors and musicians who have previously performed at NASCAR’s championship celebration, including Lady Antebellum, Sara Bareilles, Dierks Bentley, and Kid Rock. Part of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week™ in Las Vegas, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards is the headlining experience in a series of events that also includes the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Fanfest, NASCAR After The Lap™ and NASCAR Victory Lap™, where fans get a front row seat as the 16 Challengers™ roar down Las Vegas Boulevard. Visit www.NASCAR.com/ChampionsWeek to view the full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week schedule.
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