Sheldon Creed Puts On a Dominant Show at Darlington

Sheldon Creed

Getty Sheldon Creed races to a win at Darlington.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returned to action on Sunday, Sept. 5, with a race at Darlington. The playoff drivers fought for the win and the opportunity to move on to the Round of Eight with defending champion Sheldon Creed. However, none could chase down the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado as Creed won his second consecutive race.

The defending champ battled throughout the race with Kyle Busch Motorsports driver John Hunter Nemechek, splitting the stage wins. Nemechek took the first while Creed took the second. Once the final stage began, Creed showcased his skills behind the wheel. He built up a lead over Nemechek and raced his way to the checkered flag, sweeping both races at Darlington.

Creed already had a spot secure in the Round of Eight after winning at Gateway Motorsports Park to kick off the playoffs. However, he put himself in an even better position by stacking points at Darlington, doing so with damage to the rear of the No. 2 Chevrolet.

Nemechek took second while Stewart Friesen finished third in his best performance of the season. Todd Gilliland — another playoff driver — took fourth while Parker Kligerman rounded out the top five.


Nemechek Bounced Back in a Major Way

The driver of the No. 4 KBM Motorsports Toyota Tundra entered the race at Darlington needing to make some moves. Mechanical issues disrupted him during the first playoff race. Though he remained well above the cut line due to winning the regular-season championship and stacking a lot of points.

Nemechek turned in a strong performance in a bounce-back race. He won the first stage and then fought with Creed throughout the remainder of the race, avoiding on-track incidents to lock up some crucial points.

The driver of the No. 4 did not win at Darlington, but he received a solid consolation prize. He clinched a spot in the Round of Eight on points after finishing 67 above the playoff cut line. He can now move forward toward Bristol knowing that he will continue to battle Creed for the title.


Another Playoff Driver Dealt With Major Issues

Several drivers dealt with issues during the first Truck Series playoff race. Nemechek had brake rotor issues and finished 22nd overall while Zane Smith ended his day 35th after multiple mechanical problems. Nemechek’s teammate in Chandler Smith exited the race early with a mechanical issue of his own but returned and ended the day 28th.

The trend continued at Darlington but disrupted a different group of playoff drivers. Zane Smith and Matt Crafton collided on pit road after Smith made a mistake and tried to maneuver around the No. 88 ThorSport Toyota Tundra. Though the two drivers avoided major damage and continued in the race.

Crafton’s teammate, Ben Rhodes, experienced a different set of issues. He sustained damage to the No. 99 ThorSport Toyota Tundra during two different incidents, forcing him to go down pit road multiple times for repairs.

The first incident occurred when Creed’s No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado lost momentum. Rhodes slammed into the rear of the truck, causing damage to both vehicles, but the two drivers continued to compete for the remainder of Stage 1.

The second incident involving Rhodes, on the other hand, dropped him out of contention for the win. He tried to slide between Kris Wright and Jack Wood, but all three vehicles ran out of room. They collided with each other and then slammed into the wall, destroying the front of the No. 99. Rhodes went to pit road for repairs and dropped several laps behind the field, ultimately finishing 34th.

READ NEXT: Riley Herbst Remains in Contention Despite Darlington Wreck

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