Sheldon Creed Survives Chaos And A Two-Lap Shootout To Tame The Lady In Blackby Hunter Thomas May 8, 2021 1 comment
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Sheldon Creed survived a 17-truck crash and a two-lap shootout in the LiftKits4Less.com 200 on Friday night to win the first race of the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply at Darlington Raceway.
On the final restart of the night, Ben Rhodes started on the inside, and Creed in the GMS Racing No. 2 Chevrolet, started alongside of him. The field got the green with just two laps to go, and while trying to hold Creed at bay, Rhodes nearly lost his truck as they barreled into Turn 1. The hiccup allowed Creed to create a significant gap as he went on to win his sixth-career race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“Honestly, we got lucky,” Creed said in reference to the 17-truck pile-up. “The trucks went in the right directions and snuck through. And then I had a really good feeling after that. I knew the guys in front of us had older tires, and the guys that were with us were obviously on the same tires, but I at least felt good enough for five or so laps on tires. The more caution laps we had, the more confident I felt.”
Rhodes, who had been strong all night, gathered his truck on the final restart and held off his ThorSport Racing teammate, Johnny Sauter as well as the rest of the pack to finish in the runner-up position. Throughout the night, Rhodes overcame two flat tires, a pit road penalty and led 34 laps. He entered the night as the September winner at the track, Too Tough To Tame.
“I was kind of expecting that,” Rhodes said about the final restart. “It’s one of those notorious things that’s done and we saw it on the chat that they were going to try to run us low and that’s what happened. I saw it going into the corner that they were going to push low so I tried to work our way back up to give us some more line so we could be side-by-side coming off two, but got really loose and luckily we saved it, but it was an up and down night. I had a lot of fun. I love this place, but we had two flat right-rear tires and an issue with the left-rear. We pitted a bunch of times and had to go to the tail-end of the field multiple times. We set ourself up for the end there with our Bombardier Tundra to go for a long run with low pressures. Then low and behold, red flags and caution after caution after caution. What do you do?”
Carson Hocevar finished third after pulling off a bold, three-wide move down the backstretch on the final restart. ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Sauter finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Timmy Hill finished seventh, followed by pole-sitter John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Wayne Self and South Carolina’s Jordan Anderson.
The race featured quite a bit of action for the fans in attendance. There were 20 lead changes among 12 drivers. Nemechek led a race high of 65 laps.
The race also saw 12 cautions for 66 laps. The largest crash, which involved 17 trucks occurred on lap 119. The chaos ignited on a restart, when Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates, Corey Heim and Todd Gilliland crashed. The two drivers led the field down to the green flag and contact sent the to drivers into each other. With nowhere to go, everyone behind them piled in. The red flag was displayed for 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
Up next on the schedule, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will visit the Circuit of the Americas in Texas for the first time ever on Saturday, May 22. The Toyota Tundra 225 will broadcast live on FS1 at 1 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images