Trackin’ Trucks: Sheldon Creed Wins Gateway Playoff opener


Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Sheldon Creed dominated on Friday night at the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, leading a race-high 142 of 163 laps. Creed beat Matt Crafton in an overtime finish by .292 seconds after an accident in Turn 4 involving the No. 42 of Carson Hocevar and the No. 15 of Tanner Gray. 

The Toyota 200 presented by CK Power is Creed’s second victory of the 2021 season and seventh of his Camping World Truck Series career. 

“My guys put together such a good truck,” said Creed, who drives the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet. “We’ve been working hard all year and obviously haven’t had the speed at times and I’ve made mistakes at times. But we were able to build this brand-new truck and I feel like we’ve taken everything we’ve learned this year and applied it. They gave me a hot rod today and I couldn’t be happier.”

“I love late-race restarts. I didn’t want it, but when it came out I was just thinking, OK, just focus and execute.”

“This is huge,” he added. “I’ve had such a stressful month trying to figure out what I’m doing next year, so many mixed emotions on what I’m going to do and if I’ll even have a ride. Biggest thing is to keep winning and get ourselves in the Championship 4 and execute.”

While the win was smooth sailing for the defending series champion, more than half of the series Playoff drivers experienced issues, including points leader John Hunter Nemechek. 

Nemechek’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota shut off shortly after the race resumed from a red flag caused by a power outage at the racetrack. In addition, he suffered rear-end damage after getting hit from behind. 15 laps later, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver was forced to go behind the wall to replace a brake rotor. 

He return to the race five laps down, ultimately finishing in the 22nd position. He remains the points leader by two points over Sheldon Creed and three points over Ben Rhodes. 

Rhodes finished third, while Stewart Friesen and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top five.

Chase Purdy brought it home in sixth. Hailie Deegan earned her first CWTS top 10 with her seventh-place finish, which is the third-best by a woman in the series. Playoff driver Carson Hocevar earned eighth place, while Austin Wayne Self and Jack Wood completed the top 10.

The power outage caused by a fire outside of the racetrack required the race to be red- flagged before the halfway point. It lasted approximately an hour, then racing resumed with backup power and temporary lighting towers. 

A Look Ahead (Into the Playoffs) 

The Camping World Truck Series Playoffs continues on September 5th at Darlington Raceway. 

Creed earned his first win of the season at the 1.366-mile track over Rhodes. Can he defend the win and earn more points to give him the championship lead? 

Zane Smith and Chandler Smith are below the cutoff line, ranked ninth and 10th, respectively. Zane Smith is 10 points behind Gilliland, while Chandler Smith is 18 points behind Gilliland. 

Don’t miss the In It To Win It 200 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. 

Trackin’ Trucks: Sheldon Creed Wins Gateway Playoff opener Trackin’ Trucks: Sheldon Creed Wins Gateway Playoff opener Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Saturday, August 21, 2021 Rating: 5