Creed Survives To Win At Darlington

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 8 2021

Sheldon Creed hung on to win the Truck Series race at Darlington on Friday. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

DARLINGTON, S.C. – In one of Darlington Raceway’s most “bizarre” races, NASCAR Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed snapped Kyle Busch Motorsports’ five-race winning streak with a victory in Friday night’s Liftkits4less.com 200.

It was Creed’s sixth career victory, but his and GMS Racing’s first this season. It also was a lucrative victory for Creed, who received a $50,000 bonus for claiming the first event in the Triple Truck Challenge. The other two races in the Challenge are May 22 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and May 28 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

“We really haven’t nailed the setup yet,” Creed said in explaining the reason for his victory drought early this season. “After the way we ran last week, I felt better about what we came to the track with this weekend. This is a start to us heading back in the right direction.”  

 A yellow flag that waved after Creed received the white flag forced the 147-lap race to end under caution, negating any hope runner-up Ben Rhodes had of recording this third win this season. With five caution periods in the final 35 laps, including one for a 16-truck pileup, Creed admitted he was a winner and a survivor.  

The ending of the event at the 1.366-mile track resembled those often seen at Daytona and Talladega. The 16-truck pileup, the largest ever at the historic track, occurred on a restart following the eighth of 12 cautions and eliminated many victory contenders, including KBM driver and leader John Hunter Nemechek. The devastating chain reaction, which stopped the race for 12 minutes 23 seconds, was triggered when one of the front-row trucks spun its tires on the restart.

“If you had stickers, it was easy to go (on the restarts),” Creed said. “I restarted on old tires a couple of times and I was like, get it rolling, shift, and it would still be easy to spin in second gear. It was really easy to spin the tires. The track was greasy. It seemed like the tires were laying (down) a whole lot more rubber than what we were used to in the Truck series.”    

Tires also played a role in Rhodes second-place finish.

“He had seven-lap newer tires than us,” Rhodes said about Creed. “We also kind of set ourselves up for a long run at the end. We had low air pressures at the end and never got a chance to get them up with the red flag and all the yellow flag attempts. It sucks to finish second when you had so much (money) on the line tonight.”  

Canadian Stewart Friesen described the race as a “shit show”; however, Rhodes chronicled it as “a bizarre race.”

“First, we had two flat tires, we had an issue with the left rear, we had to pit when pit road wasn’t open, go to the back multiple times, dodge all those wrecks,” Rhodes said. “It was the most eventful one I have been a part of.

“It’s a challenging track. It’s tough as heck to pass; maybe one of the toughest tracks to pass on of any we have on the schedule. But when you get by yourself and you’re chasing down some people … and you see yourself closing in, it’s like butter. It’s such a good feeling! There is no other race track on the schedule where you turn in off the wall, throttle back up and drive to the outside wall. Nothing else compares to that. This is one of a kind and I absolutely love it! This is a challenging track. Step up or step out.”

Despite being involved in the 16-truck pileup, Nemechek emerged with an eighth-place finish. The race’s top lap leader, who set the pace on five occasions for 65 laps, remained in the driver standings’ lead. The Camping World Truck Series is now off a week before traveling to COTA for NASCAR’s debut at the road course.


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – 2nd Annual Liftkits4less.com 200

Darlington Raceway

Darlington, South Carolina

Friday, May 7, 2021

  1. (15)  Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 147.
  2. (4)  Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 147.
  3. (14)  Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 147.
  4. (9)  Matt Crafton, Toyota, 147.
  5. (17)  Grant Enfinger, Toyota, 147.
  6. (6)  Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 147.
  7. (26)  Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 147.
  8. (1)  John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 147.
  9. (12)  Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 147.
  10. (31)  Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 147.
  11. (18)  Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 147.
  12. (19)  Ryan Reed, Chevrolet, 147.
  13. (2)  Austin Hill, Toyota, 147.
  14. (16)  Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 147.
  15. (5)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 147.
  16. (3)  Zane Smith, Chevrolet, 147.
  17. (22)  Erik Darnell, Chevrolet, 147.
  18. (27)  Danny Bohn, Toyota, 147.
  19. (21)  Timothy Peters, Chevrolet, 147.
  20. (10)  Hailie Deegan #, Ford, 147.
  21. (38)  Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 146.
  22. (34)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 144.
  23. (13)  Corey Heim, Toyota, DVP, 142.
  24. (37)  Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Overheating, 139.
  25. (7)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, DVP, 131.
  26. (36)  Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, Accident, 130.
  27. (8)  Chandler Smith #, Toyota, Parked, 126.
  28. (35)  David Gilliland, Ford, Accident, 117.
  29. (28)  Spencer Davis, Toyota, Accident, 117.
  30. (33)  Tate Fogleman, Chevrolet, Accident, 117.
  31. (32)  Dawson Cram, Chevrolet, Accident, 117.
  32. (39)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, Accident, 117.
  33. (11)  Tanner Gray, Ford, Accident, 110.
  34. (23)  Akinori Ogata, Toyota, Accident, 110.
  35. (20)  Derek Kraus, Toyota, 109.
  36. (24)  Chase Purdy #, Chevrolet, Accident, 80.
  37. (40)  Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Too Slow, 61.
  38. (25)  Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, Accident, 26.
  39. (30)  Kris Wright #, Chevrolet, Accident, 25.
  40. (29)  Cory Roper, Ford, Accident, 13.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  81.041 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 28 Mins, 40 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags:  12 for 66 laps.

Lead Changes:  20 among 12 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   J. Nemechek 1-6;A. Hill 7-17;R. Truex 18-21;B. Rhodes 22-32;T. Gilliland 33-48;A. Ogata 49;S. Friesen 50-51;T. Gilliland 52;J. Nemechek 53-85;T. Gray 86-87;T. Hill 88;J. Nemechek 89-94;C. Hocevar # 95;J. Nemechek 96-105;C. Heim 106;J. Nemechek 107-116;C. Heim 117;B. Rhodes 118-139;S. Creed 140-144;B. Rhodes 145;S. Creed 146-147.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  John Hunter Nemechek 5 times for 65 laps; Ben Rhodes 3 times for 34 laps; Todd Gilliland 2 times for 17 laps; Austin Hill 1 time for 11 laps; Sheldon Creed 2 times for 7 laps; Ryan Truex 1 time for 4 laps; Corey Heim 2 times for 2 laps; Stewart Friesen 1 time for 2 laps; Tanner Gray 1 time for 2 laps; Akinori Ogata 1 time for 1 lap; Timmy Hill 1 time for 1 lap; Carson Hocevar # 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 38,4,21,16,2,88,18,51,98,26

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,51,42,18,52,56,38,2,16,25


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 8 2021
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