The top three series in NASCAR are midway through their respective seasons and the top drivers are planning to pursue championship trophies. Defending Camping World Truck Series champ Sheldon Creed is among this group, but he is also planning for a move. The GMS Racing driver made it clear that he wants to pursue the Xfinity Series in 2022.
Creed sat down recently with Davey Segal of “The Frontstretch Podcast” to discuss his future in the sport. He explained that he doesn’t want to become a driver that only competes in the Truck Series and never leaves. Instead, he wants to move through the ranks and ultimately reach the Cup Series.
“I definitely don’t want to do another year of Trucks,” Creed told Segal. “I feel like there’s a few guys have done four, five years in Trucks and they just become lifers. I don’t want to be that person. Definitely, Xfinity is reachable with finding sponsorship dollars and going and do that in a competitive car. That is probably the main goal right now.”
Creed is currently midway through his third full-time season in the Truck Series — sixth year overall counting his six previous starts. He has six career wins, including five during his 2020 championship season. He returned to Victory Lane in 2021 at Darlington Raceway.
Creed Could Have Several Options in Xfinity
If Creed moves to the Xfinity Series as he plans, there will be a bevy of potential options. There are multiple teams needing to solidify their rosters ahead of the 2022 season due to some drivers moving to the Cup Series while others prepare for free agency.
Chief among this group is Team Penske. Defending champion Austin Cindric is replacing Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Ford Mustang, which will leave his No. 22 without a driver. Creed is technically part of the Chevrolet family through his Truck Series career, but moving between manufacturers is nothing new for drivers when they switch teams. More importantly, he has the championship pedigree to immediately contend for wins with top-level equipment.
The second option is Joe Gibbs Racing. Harrison Burton will vacate the No. 20 Toyota Supra to move to the Cup Series and join Wood Brothers Racing while Kyle Busch will “retire” from the Xfinity Series and no longer drive the No. 54. The talent-laden organization could stick with other drivers such as Truck Series points leader John Hunter Nemechek or ARCA Menards star Ty Gibbs to fill these spots, but Creed could represent another solid option.
Finally, there is JR Motorsports. The four-car team has questions circulating about two of its main drivers — Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier. Gragson will be a free agent at the end of the season, and he currently “has no plans” regarding his future. Allgaier, on the other hand, entered the season as a driver that could make the leap to the Cup Series if he continued to stack wins, per NBC Sports. He has done just that, reaching Victory Lane two times.
Of the three “big” Xfinity Series teams, JRM has the most questions remaining. The team could keep its current lineup intact, or it could shake up the roster while pursuing more wins. If JRM goes the latter route, Creed represents a winning driver that has previous success with Chevrolet equipment.
Although Unlikely, Creed Could Move Straight to Cup
While Creed has the goal of moving to Xfinity, he acknowledged that Cup could be an option. Though he clarified that it would be more difficult to achieve this goal due to funding questions.
Creed currently drives for GMS Racing, a team that plans to compete in Cup during the 2022 season. The team has not revealed whether the entry will be a full-time or part-time ride, nor has it provided the identity of the driver. GMS could sign a veteran from the Cup Series, or it could bring Creed along to the top level. However, the championship-winning driver would have to prove that he can land sponsors.
“Someone’s got to call you. You’ve got to have money behind you,” Creed added during his conversation with Segal. “It’s not about if you can win races anymore. ‘Well, how much money do you have with you?’ That’s the irritating part. Those kids that have never won Truck or Xfinity races that are full-time in competitive cars.”