Sheldon Creed had to hold off his GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt twice on restarts with less than five laps remaining in Sunday’s Sunoco 159, with the 22-year old Creed ultimately beating the former series champion by a mere .743-seconds in overtime to earn the inaugural NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race victory at Daytona International Speedway’s famed road course.
It was the third thrilling race on the 3.61-mile, 14-turn infield road course this weekend – absolutely matching the intensity of Friday night’s ARCA Menards Series race, Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race and boding well for lots of excitement to come in the NASCAR Cup Series race later Sunday afternoon.
Appropriately, Creed and Moffitt dominated the top position on the scoring pylon all day – combining to lead 32 of the race’s 46 laps. There were seven race leaders and 11 lead changes, but the 22-year old Creed topped all drivers with 22 laps out front en route to his second series victory. Ironically, Creed’s first career win at Kentucky earlier this season came when the race was shortened due to weather. On Sunday, he won having to lead extra laps. Including those last intense 12 laps.
Sunoco rookie Raphael Lessard finished third, followed by 2019 series champion Matt Crafton and current championship points leader Austin Hill. Tyler Ankrum finished sixth and the season’s other two-time race winner Grant Enfinger was seventh. Parker Kligerman, Scott Lagasse Jr. and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top 10.
It was quite a comeback for both Enfinger and Friesen, whose trucks spent extended time on pit road for repairs earlier in the race. For Lagasse, a cancer survivor, it was a particularly impressive afternoon – his ninth-place work came in his only Gander Trucks start on the year.
For winning the first race in the Triple Truck Challenge incentive, Creed receives a $50,000 bonus check. The series will compete again for the extra money at Dover International Speedway next week and then Aug. 30 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Should a driver win two of these races, he earns a $150,000 paycheck. Should he win all three, he would earn a $500,000 bonus
“Nerve-wracking,” a smiling Creed said of the race after climbing out of his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet truck.
“Brett’s [Moffitt] really good on road courses and he’s helped me so much on the Chevy simulator. I just thought about not making a mistake there. He tried crossing me up a couple times there in [turns] three and five and I just stopped in the corners so he couldn’t get the run.”
“I’m so thankful for my guys. They’ve been working really hard. We’ve had a rough couple weeks, last weekend running up front and lost an alternator.”
“Just thankful for everyone in our corner,” Creed continued. “Thank you Brett for running me clean there. Just so excited.”
Of the extra money he won?
“Man, if I get to keep it, that will be rad,” the California native said with a smile. “Just thankful to be here and for this opportunity. Just trying to make a name for myself.”
It was a big day for several others in the field – especially those still looking for a Playoff position with only four races remaining to set the 10-driver championship field.
Moffit’s runner-up showing only solidified his position despite not having a victory yet. He is 84 points up on all drivers without a win. Ankrum is ninth in the championship standings five points ahead of 11th place Derek Kraus. Todd Gilliland is 10th in the standings, only two points ahead of Kraus.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!