Riley Herbst calls criticism for passing Hailie Deegan on last lap at Talladega 'baffling'

Riley Herbst says he doesn’t understand criticism for passing fellow Ford driver Hailie Deegan on the final lap of last weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Herbst went on to finish second to Chevrolet driver Jesse Love. Deegan fell back to 12th.

Deegan’s team expressed dissatisfaction on their radio after the race with Herbst’s action.

“I’ve watched (the finish),” Herbst said Friday at Dover Motor Speedway. “I’ve heard everybody’s opinions. I just don’t understand. Am I not allowed to pass people on a green-white-checkered?

“It’s just kind of baffling to me a little bit. I mean we finished second, so I don’t think if I would have pushed her I’d had a better opportunity to win.

“The only opportunity we really had to win would be Jesse running out of fuel, which I thought he was going to. But other than that, if you look on the (final) lap, I did the same thing with the 21 car (Austin Hill) through (Turns) 3 and 4, so it just wasn’t really her.”

NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 - Practice
NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 - Practice

Friday 5: NASCAR All-Star, Indy 500 qualifying schedules complicate Kyle Larson’s plans

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A difference for some could be that Hill drives a Chevrolet.

Typically at drafting tracks, drivers of the same manufacturers work together for as long as possible, but there’s also an understanding that each driver has a right to go for the win.

The key is to not be in a position to win and make a move that helps another manufacturer triumph. Love led the final seven laps to score his first series victory.