Connect with us

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Sheldon Creed Adapts in First Xfinity Series Season

(Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

After three seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Sheldon Creed has taken the next step. Creed is driving full-time for Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series, looking to bring the organization victories.

But, it hasn’t necessarily been the start that Creed has wanted. Through 13 races, Creed has six top 10s and sits 15th in driver’s points. He hasn’t recorded a top five and has three DNFs.

“It’s been a humbling start,” Creed told The Podium Finish. “I’ve made mistakes that have kind of set us back a little bit and just trying to learn the new car and learn how to race a lot of new guys.”

The Truck Series is a spec series with NASCAR requiring engines to come from Ilmor, a British racing engineering company. Drivers often race over-aggressive in Trucks, which is different from Xfinity.

Creed went winless in Trucks in 2019, his rookie season, and narrowly missed the championship in 2021 despite three wins. But, in 2020, Creed won five times and stole the series championship from Zane Smith on a late green-white-checkered.

(Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

“That was really cool,” Creed said on his championship. “We had a great season, won five races that year and ran up front a lot. Led the most laps out of anyone, won the most stages and just had a really, really great year.”

But, it wasn’t long before his Truck Series championship that Creed had raced on asphalt. Growing up, Creed raced off-road in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and the Stadium Super Trucks. He also medaled in the X Games for Off-Road Truck Racing in 2014 and 2015.

“Had a lot of fun growing up racing off-road, dirt bikes, all that,” Creed said. “I still like to dirt race a lot. It’s a lot harder than then I think everyone sees it. And everyone’s really good.”

When he switched to asphalt racing, Creed needed to find the right fit. He tried racing late models but it didn’t fit right for him. In 2016, Creed debuted in the ARCA Menards Series and he hit his stride.

“I just thought the late models were boring,” Creed said. “You couldn’t drive it as hard as you could the whole time… I didn’t like the fact that you had to save your stuff and just the way you had to race them.”

In 2018, Creed joined MDM Motorsports where he won four times in ARCA and recorded 16 top-five finishes en route to a series championship. He defeated Zane Smith and Riley Herbst in the championship hunt, two of NASCAR’s top young prospects.

Creed won both his ARCA and Truck championships with Jeff Stankiewicz serving as his crew chief. As Creed navigates his rookie Xfinity season, he once again has that familiar voice calling the shots.

(Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

“We’ve had a good relationship from the beginning,” Creed said. “We understand each other a lot and we can be super honest with each other and not get butt hurt… He knows how I like the cars to drive and he’s done a good job at giving me cars that are fast.”

Coming from a road racing background, Creed looks forward to more road course racing in the Xfinity Series. He made six road course starts in the Truck Series and finished top five in five of them.

In the first Xfinity road course race of the season, Creed finished 10th at Circuit of the Americas. This weekend, Xfinity travels to Portland International Raceway for its inaugural event at the track, and Creed hopes to contend.

“I wish we had more road courses,” Creed said. “If we went to 15 road courses during the year, I’d love that.”

With 13 races until the playoffs, Creed hopes to claw out of his points deficit to make a run at the championship. He sits 59 points below the cutline but knows his best chance is to win a race.

“Just go out and win some races, really. That’s the easy way out,” Creed said. “If we can’t do that, then then we just need to start being more consistent. I think we can still point our way back in pretty easily if we just have a good stretch of weeks with good playoff points and good stages.”

Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

 

Nathan Solomon is a junior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He serves as the managing editor for his campus newspaper, The BonaVenture, and as the programming director for his campus radio station, WSBU 88.3FM. The station is rated the No. 4 college radio station in the country by Princeton Review. Solomon started his journalism career in 2018 when he began covering hometown Cornell basketball for IvyHoopsOnline. In 2019, Solomon joined Empire Sports Media to contribute baseball content and started covering NASCAR for the outlet in 2020. In 2021, he covered his first two NASCAR races with Empire Sports Media. Solomon joined TPF in September of 2021 and became managing editor in spring of 2022. He is also an NMPA journalist.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in NASCAR XFINITY Series