Gaunt Brothers Racing will wrap up the 2019 Monster Energy Cup Series season by giving Drew Herring his first series start. On Tuesday, the team announced Herring, a test driver for Toyota Racing Development (TRD), would make his Cup début in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He will drive the #96 Toyota Camry with a livery celebrating TRD’s fortieth anniversary.
“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.”
Between 2010 and 2017, Herring has made sporadic starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. With the exception of a five-race schedule in 2010 with Baker Curb Racing of Ford, all of his starts in NASCAR’s second tier have been under the Toyota banner with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, and JGL Racing.
In twenty-two career Xfinity starts, he has five top-ten finishes, two poles, and a best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway in 2012 with JGR. His most recent race was the 2017 DC Solar 200 at what is now ISM Raceway, where he finished twentieth.
“So much of Toyota’s success on track comes from preparation,” GBR owner Marty Gaunt commented. As a TRD test driver, Herring works on car setups for the stable and its teams, including driving Cup cars in testing sessions. “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.”
In 2019, GBR has fielded the #96 for Parker Kligerman in fourteen races. Kligerman, who also works as an analyst for NBC NASCAR, is unable to compete at Homestead due to scheduling clashes. A longtime member of the Toyota group, his best run of the year is fifteenth at the two superspeedways (the Daytona 500 and fall race at Talladega Superspeedway).