Sheldon Creed scored his third win of the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season on Sunday afternoon at the World Wide Technology Raceway from Gateway. But the CarShield 200 Presented by CK Power victory was a little controversial as Creed made contact with then race leader, Todd Gilliland, after the Stage 3 restart.
After the incident, Creed had to fend off his teammate Sam Mayer, who spun his tires on the last restart of the race. As Mayer spun his tires, Creed pulled away and eventually claimed the checkered flag, continuing GMS’s late dominance in the Truck Series.
“The [win] feels great but I want to start by apologizing to the 38 (Gilliland),” Creed said. “It’s so hard to pass here and I got down into his inside and just was really loose getting in. He was really close to my door. They were having such a good day and me and Todd are buddies. I hate doing that to him. They are a strong team. He owes me one.
“But hats off to my guys. They made great adjustments all day. Came from 17th and had my work cut out for me.”
Three stages of 55-55-50 made up the 160-lap race. In addition to the stages, the new NASCAR pit stop procedure came into effect for today only which stated that the drivers could not come down pit road during the green flag run. Therefore, drivers and teams could not change tires until the stage break. But, during the pit stop procedure, the driver would not lose track position and would keep the position where they finished in the stages.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 55
Through the first 45 laps of the event, a GMS Racing driver led, rookie standout and two-time Truck Series winner, Zane Smith.
Smith led until Front Row Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland took the lead at Lap 46 and drove away to take the stage victory. The stage victory was his first in over two years since Talladega in 2018.
While Smith and Gilliland swapped the lead on-track, 2016 Truck Series Champion Johnny Sauter had to watch from pit road. The Wisconsin native had a broken drive train and was unable to get back out to the track. With Sauter out of the race early on Lap 28, he was credited with a last-place finish. At this point, Sauter is in a must-win situation in the final two races left before the playoffs begin.
Gilliland took the Stage 1 win followed by Zane Smith, Moffitt, Eckes, Crafton, Mayer, Rhodes, Creed, Majeski, and Akrum as the top 10 finishers.
During the stage break, some interesting developments took place on pit road.
Kansas winner Matt Crafton had his hood up as the team was checking for a potential issue with his No. 88 Menards Ford F-150. Crafton’s truck had shut off prior to coming to his pit box. There were reports from the team that the truck could have run out of fuel but the issue was not thoroughly diagnosed. Nonetheless, Crafton was able to continue on in the race.
Stage 2: Lap 61 – Lap 110
Gilliland would dominate the second stage by leading all the laps. However, one caution slowed his efforts.
On Lap 78, the caution flew for rookie Chandler Smith who got loose under the No. 99 of Ben Rhodes, slid up the track and hit the Turn 2 wall. Smith received major left-side damage to his No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra.
Despite the caution flag, Gilliland took Stage 2 with Eckes, Zane Smith, Mayer, Creed, Moffitt, Ankrum, Rhodes, Lessard, and Friesen completing the top 10.
Stage 3: Lap 116 – Lap 160
Several incidents occurred throughout the final stage of the race.
With 39 to go, Christian Eckes bounced off the Turn 2 wall after having a tire go down on his No. 18 Toyota Tundra. Unfortunately for Eckes, his day was done early and he was credited with a 32nd place finish.
A few moments later, the pivotal moment of the race came when Creed drove down into the middle of Turns 1 and 2 and accidentally shoved Gilliland up the track, causing him to hit the wall. After the mishap, Gilliland’s chance of winning the race was done, as he fell to the back of the pack, and came to pit road to fix his damage.
The fourth yellow would fly on Lap 128 when Jennifer Jo Cobb pounded the Turn 2 wall after a right-front tire went flat. During that same yellow, Gilliland was still on pit road fixing the damage and went two laps down due to the untimely yellow.
It seemed as though Turn 2 would continue to be the trouble spot as the final yellow flew with 18 to go when Austin Wayne Self was wrecked after Niece Motorsports driver Carson Hocevar made contact with him.
The late-race yellow set up a 13-lap run to the finish, with rookie Sam Mayer looking for his first-ever Truck Series win and Creed on the front row.
Unfortunately for Mayer, he spun his tires on the restart which allowed Creed to go right on by and prevail with his third checkered flag of the season.
Not only did Creed win again, but he also collected another $50,000 in the “Triple Truck Challenge.”
Creed led twice for 15 laps and picked up five playoff points following his victory. There were five cautions for 23 laps and five lead changes among six different leaders.
Official Results following the CarShield 200 at Gateway:
- Sheldon Creed, led 15 laps
- Brett Moffitt
- Austin Hill
- Sam Mayer, led 24 laps
- Stewart Friesen
- Raphael Lessard
- Zane Smith, led 45 laps
- Grant Enfinger
- Ty Majeski
- Tanner Gray
- Ben Rhodes
- Tyler Ankrum
- Derek Kraus
- Matt Crafton
- Carson Hocevar
- Danny Bohn
- Jordan Anderson
- Tate Fogleman
- Clay Greenfield
- Kyle Donahue
- Tyler Hill, 1 lap down
- Todd Gilliland, 2 laps down, won both stages, led 76 laps
- Dawson Cram, 2 laps down
- Chandler Smith, 3 laps down
- Spencer Boyd, 3 laps down
- Bryant Barnhill, 4 laps down
- Roger Reuse, 9 laps down
- Natalie Decker, 10 laps down
- Norm Benning, 12 laps down
- Austin Wayne Self, OUT, Damage Vehicle Policy
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, OUT, Accident
- Christian Eckes, OUT, Driveshaft
- Johnny Sauter, OUT, Vibration
- Sheldon Creed (3 wins), 19 playoff points
- Zane Smith (2 wins), 14 playoff points
- Grant Enfinger (2 wins), 11 playoff points
- Austin Hill (1 win), 7 playoff points
- Matt Crafton (1 win), 5 playoff points
- Brett Moffitt, 4 playoff points, +118 above the cut line
- Ben Rhodes, +85 above the cut line
- Christian Eckes, +73 above the cut line
- Tyler Ankrum, +15 above the cut line
- Todd Gilliland, 2 playoff points, +15 above the cut line
Below the cut line
- Derek Kruas, -15
- Tanner Gray, -71
- Raphael Lessard, -75
- Stewart Friesen, -99
Up Next: The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will visit Darlington Raceway for the first time in nine-years, on Sunday September 5th, live on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio at 2 p.m./ET.