By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Throughout the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series campaign, Gaunt Brothers Racing have celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Toyota Racing Development (TRD). To cap off their celebration, the team tapped TRD test driver Drew Herring to pilot GBR’s No. 96 Camry for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
It’ll be Herring’s first national touring start since Phoenix in March 2017 when he drove for JGL Racing in the Xfinity Series.
In 22 NXS starts, Herring is known for capturing a pole at Iowa Speedway in 2013 and also putting Erik Jones’ car on pole at the same venue two years later. Jones was at Charlotte Motor Speedway as a standby driver for Kyle Busch, who was returning from injury sustained at Daytona.
In addition of mastering Iowa, Herring has a career-high fourth at Kentucky Speedway in 2012 and five top-10 finishes. All of those feats were done while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Herring couldn’t describe his total excitement of given the opportunity to make his Cup debut after putting in the hard work for Toyota.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Herring said. “I spend so much time getting to fine tune these awesome race cars, to get back out there on track, in real racing conditions, at maybe the biggest race of the season, it’s really an incredible opportunity.”
GBR owner Marty Gaunt credited the 32-year-old for being a contributor of Toyota’s overall success, highlighted with a third manufacturer’s championship in last Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway, won by Toyota driver Denny Hamlin.
“So much of Toyota’s success on track comes from preparation,” Gaunt said. “The teams, engineers, crew members, drivers, and TRD as an organization are always working so hard to be the best, and Drew plays a very big role in that. Not only am I confident he’ll run a good race, I also believe his feedback will make us an even better race team.”
GBR’s most recent race was the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago where primary driver Parker Kligerman brought the car home in 22nd, which was the team’s best non-superspeedway finish.
Kligerman will be a part of NBC’s race coverage at Homestead as a pit reporter, resulting in a conflict that prevented him from racing the 267-lap event.