Sheldon Creed, a breakout star in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, completed his run to the top by winning the 2020 championship Friday at Phoenix Raceway.
Creed finished ahead of fellow Championship 4 contenders Grant Enfinger, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith at the 1-mile track to claim the crown in his second full-time season driving for GMS Racing.
Creed was running third before a caution came out with three laps remaining. The No. 2 team elected to pit for four fresh tires, which allowed Creed to quickly move up through the field after restarting ninth and take the lead from Chandler Smith on the second-to-last lap.
“My teammate was going to win the championship and I was going to run third,” Creed said. “I pride myself on my restarts week in and week out and just nailed the restart there. Driving this thing as hard as I can. I want this so bad.
“I don’t know how I did it, I just drove as hard as I could,” he added. “My whole family … we have like 20 camp spots out here. I’m going to drink some cold beer tonight.”
Moffitt, who was the leader on the overtime restart, got pressure from third-place driver Ben Rhodes as the trucks went three-wide through the dogleg and into Turn 1. While Creed used the apron of the race track to move to the front, Moffitt slide back to a 10th-place result for third in the playoff standings.
Smith finished second to earn the same result in the final playoff standings, while Enfinger finished 13th to place fourth out of the Championship 4 contenders.
Creed, 23 from Alpine, California, has raced in 53 career Gander Trucks events. He recorded his first win earlier this season at Kentucky Speedway. He also had wins at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and Texas Motor Speedway in the Round of 8 to advance to the Championship 4.
Creed improved in every major statistical category in 2020 when compared to his first full-time season in 2019. That first year included 11 top-10 finishes and four top-five results in 23 races, and he ended the season ranked 10th in the standings. This year, he entered the Phoenix finale with four wins, eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10 results.
Creed started out the 2020 season with a ninth-place finish at the Daytona oval and then posted two more top 10s at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. After falling out of the top 10 in his next two races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, Creed got back up to third at Pocono Raceway before delivering his first series win at Kentucky.
That win came in a rain-shortened event when Creed made a bold three-wide move to grab the lead from ThorSport Racing’s Rhodes and teammate Zane Smith before the race was halted for weather. At the time, Creed said, “Really wish I could have gotten to the finish line and finished that out right, but I’ll take this win.”
That bold style Creed used to get his first win could be traced back to his dirt background.
“That guy can go out there and wheel the thing slap sideways all day and he don’t care,” Creed’s teammate at GMS Racing, Tyler Ankrum, said.
Learning to master the line between taking risks and keeping control has been something Creed said has been the key to his success this season. Creed used those learnings to come on strong at the end of the year with the No. 2 Chevrolet team. In addition to the win at Texas, he also had second-place finishes at Las Vegas and Kansas Speedway during the playoffs.
Creed is signed on again to drive for GMS Racing next year, along with Ankrum, so he will get the chance to defend his title.
Creed also has a title in the ARCA Menards Series he won in 2018 while with MDM Motorsports. Before that, Creed cut his racing teeth in BMX racing and off-road truck racing, where he was a champion in 2015. He also has an X-Games gold medal to his credit.